Polish on demand service IPLA (backed by pay TV and DTH provider Cyfrowy Polsat), has added the Filmbox Live family of channels to its offer. Customers can now buy a Filmbox Live package for 29.90PLN (€7.19) a month and get extended access to 4 live-streaming TV channels from Filmbox (Filmbox, Filmbox Extra, Filmbox HD and Filmbox Family), Kino Polska TV, Kino Polska Muzyka and the SPI channels Fightbox and Docubox. Furthermore, viewers can watch movies and TV series in the VOD library from Filmbox on a pay-per-view basis.
Filmbox and Kino Polska are series of channels operated by SPI International with services in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Filmbox branded channels include Filmbox HD, Filmbox Family, Filmbox Extra, Filmbox Extra 1 and Filmbox Plus.
IPLA currently offers viewers over 20 live TV channels, as well as clips, TV series, movies and sporting events on-demand. The service has wide presence on different devices in Poland including Cyfrowy Polsat decoders. IPLA was acquired by Cyfrowy Polsat in April 2012.
Cyfrowy Polsat is the largest pay TV and satellite provider in Poland, with 31 per cent of Polish pay TV subscribers at year end 2011 according to IHS Screen Digest estimates.
The deal with Filmbox and Kino Polska will allow IPLA to maintain its position in the Polish online video market. The deal will not provide any exclusive content to IPLA, however, it will help the player to expand its premium library. Having a premium catalogue is important in monetizing online audiences via subscription business models. At year end 2011 Kino Polska Muzyka reached 2.5m active subscribers, with Kino Polska TV being in the top three watched movie channels in Poland (according to company estimates).
IPLA is currently the leading OTT video service in terms of availability on different platforms and is accessible across a huge range of connected devices including PCs, connected TVs (LG, Panasonic, Sony, Samsung), tablets, smartphones, consoles and home cinema systems. IPLA also boasts a large content catalogue, which includes TV and sport programmes from local Polish broadcasters and studios as well as major international players such as Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks. The company works particularly closely with local TV channels and groups, having established close cooperation with players including TVP, Polsat and TV4. IPLA offers a number of episodes of popular Polish TV series prior to their TV broadcast. Currently there are more than 30,000 videos on IPLA.
IPLA currently claims to lead the local paid-for online video market, both in terms of the number of users and time spent watching videos. The company has stated that it had 1.5m users in 2012, compared to 0.5m in 2009.
For SPI International, the presence of its channels and content on the IPLA service will help the group maintain momentum in its expansion into the Polish market. The company has been emphasising Filmbox's reach of 5.2m TV households via pay platforms in Poland in 2011 and its rapid growth in linear consumption. The company registered an increase of audience share of 59 per cent year-on-year in 2011 and is now aiming to complement this gain with OTT distribution. Although we expect online to be a relatively small contributor to the company's top line for the near future, it places the group in prime position to capitalise on growth in Poland's connected device base over the next few years.