New OTT platform launches, plans Euro roll out

A new over-the-top service, Magine, has launched in Sweden this week and plans to offer a bouquet of channels for a low cost in at least five European territories before the end of the year.

Unlike many of the other OTT services, Magine is not seeking to ink programming deals with the studios and other content providers for individual shows or packages of content, but will seek to gain carriage of full linear channels, chairman Michael Werner told TBI.

The programming on these can then be watched live or in catch-up mode, with content stored in the cloud. Magine will pay a per-sub carriage fee in line with that paid by traditional pay TV platforms, making it, effectively, an OTT pay TV platform operator.

“We have created a business model that looks like the [pay TV platform] one everyone is used to, but we’re offering extra functionality,” Werner said.

The Magine launch costs, although considerable at about €25 million (US$32.1 million), are modest compared to those of rolling out a comparable cable or DTH platform. Without huge start-up costs and no investment in set tops Werner said it will offer a monthly subscription that will be under €10 in all territories.

There will be 20-30 channels and a 5-10 channel freemium service designed to drive subscriptions.

“We don’t need to lock people into long subscriptions,” Werner said. “We will have high content costs, but our fixed costs will be low. We’ll be in five territories before the end of the year.”

He added that Magine’s engineers have developed a proprietary software solution that enables the OTT service to be delivered using a third of the capacity that would normally be expected. It has inked a deal with LG and Samsung and will have an app loaded on their smart TVs.

Werner said he is in talks with all of the major channel operators and national broadcasters will also be targeted in the first wave of launches. In beta test mode, with 10,000 users, it had Swedish public broadcaster SVT’s channel on its service and that of its commercial counterpart TV4. Both are part of the commercial launch.

Talks are underway with pay TV channels and the Magine holding page has Turner’s TNT and Cartoon Network listed.

Werner has thirty years of experience in the TV sector having worked at TV3 and been one of the founders of Swedish DTT service Boxer. The other management in place is picked from a diverse range of sectors and includes internet venture capital specialist Erik Wikström, who is CEO, and former Spotify executive Andreas Liffgarden, who is general manager.