French SVOD service launches with 4K

French telco Altice has launched Zive, a new SVOD platform solely for its customers that will be included into new packages and new Box Fibre Zive settop boxes.

The new product will be introduced on November 17 as SFR, which is set to become the global brand for current subsidiary cable division Numericable.

This comes after Altice acquired mobile operator SFR from Vivendi for €13.66 billion (IS$14.67 billion).

SVOD platform Zive will feature more than 5,000 titles at start, rising to 15,000 by end-2016. It will be the first in France to offer numerous 4K programmes on demand, with about 600 at launch. 4K titles will include movies and documentaries.

The wider line-up is focused on youth-skewed, educational and family content, as well as on movies from international studios. It will include titles such as Babar, Raving Rabbids and Disney’s classic movies. There will also be drama series including Supernatural and Desperate Housewives.

“Zive will be what differentiates us from other European telecom operators,” said Michel Combes, who became SFR’s CEO this year.

Zive will be free for Numericable-SFR subscribers receiving its Power package (or above) at €48.99 each month. This could, SFR hopes, see it move ahead of Netflix and Canalplay in the French SVOD market.

Netflix has never been carried on Numericable and Canalplay will be replaced by Zive in SFR’s 4G mobile offering as a result of the launch.

To new subscribers, Zive will cost €9.99 per month, and be available on five devices per customer, making it less expensive than Netflix, whose four-device offer is €11.99.

The Altice-SFR group said it is ultimately looking beyond France, and plans to produce its own programming in the future. Furthermore, SFR is already working on original contents. SFR’s longer-term goal is to drive margins by pushing Zive and its new 4K box internationally, notably in the the US, where it recently acquired Cablevision to become a major local player.

The platform’s model is based on Altice’s HOT platform in Israel, which commissions reality TV series, games and TV series.

In France, telcos are spearheading the move to 4K. SFR’s entry into the market follows that of Free, which launched its 4K mini box earlier this year and now carries Dutch channel Festival 4K on its Freebox service.

Orange and Canal+ also have 4K plans. Telco Orange will next year introduce a new 4K Livebox, while pay TV group Canal+ is expected to kick off a 4K simulcast channel in 2016.

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