Norwegian telco and parent of pan Nordic pay-TV operator Canal Digital has launched IPTV services in Norway. Marketed under the Telenor brand, IPTV services are initially available to customers taking Telenor's fibre-based broadband and telephony services. The IPTV service is currently available as part of double or triple play package together with its telephony and broadband services, although officials at the telco have indicated that the service will be made available as a stand alone product later this year. Telenor is looking at extending the service to its DSL base by by early 2011.
Basic access to the service starts at NOK 178 (€22) per month, and includes a mix of both free to air and lower tier pay TV channels. The basic offer also includes one HD channel - SVT HD - from Swedish public broadcaster SVT. The Canal Digital premium pack, containing the Canal+ premium sports and movies channels have been priced at NOK 350 (€44) per month, incremental to the basic access charges. Telenor has also inked deals with Swedish pay-TV platform owener and broadcaster Modern Times Group (MTG) earlier this month, and will be offering the Viasat bouquet to its customers. A basic VoD service is available to all IPTV subscribers.
All set tops offered to customers are HD enabled, with both PVR and non-PVR boxes being sold on a retail basis. Multiroom services have been priced at NOK 98-100 (€12) per month, allowing connectivity of up to four set tops within a household.
Telenor’s IPTV service has been in the pipeline for some time, with reports of its imminent launch going as far back as 2008. With the launch of its IPTV service in Norway, Telenor has indicated its plans to further strengthen its position in the Norwegian pay TV sector. Telenor, via its Canal Digital service, already operates satellite and cable pay-TV services in the country. At YE 2009, Screen Digest estimates that Canal Digital’s cable TV service had a 51 per cent share of the cable TV market, while its satellite services accounted for 75 per cent share of the satellite pay TV sector.
IPTV services in Norway have been relatively limited in reach, with multi-utility cooperative Altibox being the only major operator of scale with 170,000 subscribers at YE2009. In 2009, Altibox also won four year rights for the Norwegian premier league football, which it provides as part of its standard package, and which we believe has been a key reason for its strong subscriber growth in the past year. Altibox, like Telenor's new service, makes its services available largely over fibre deployments, but has been able to rely on the rapid roll-out of fibre by small multi-utility firms to reach a large number of homes. Telenor, however, has restricted its IPTV service to its own fibre connected households, and as result we believe that initial take up of the service will be limited. According to Telenor, between just 5,000 and 10,000 homes are already connected to the fibre network, which will constrict growth until Telenor is able to expand its service to DSL.