Vodafone has launched a new standalone online subscription video service in Greece, called Vodafone TV. The service is available to everyone with a broadband connection, including customers who do not subscribe to mobile or fixed broadband services provided by Vodafone. The service will offer a total of 62 linear channels, 4,000 library movies and 7,000 episodes of TV series, with the most recent blockbuster movies being subject to a rental fee. Vodafone TV is available to all devices that support iOS and Android, and provides the subscriber with the ability to simultaneously use up to three connected or mobile devices per account. The service also offers a Cloud DVR option, allowing consumers to save and store content in the cloud.
Vodafone TV offers its subscribers the choice of three packages. These include a basic package, Vodafone TV Family, costing €11.90 per month, and two higher-tiered offerings, Vodafone TV Entertainment + Sports (at €19.40 per month) and Vodafone TV Full (€21.90 per month).
Vodafone’s pay TV strategy seems to have taken a more dynamic twist in the last 12 months. Vodafone entered the pay TV business in Greece back in 2014 when it acquired the telecom operator Hellas On Line (HOL) and its IPTV service myHOL TV for a total sum of €72.7 million ($96.6 million). Since then, the IPTV service, which was renamed to Vodafone TV in 2015, was mainly positioned as an add-on to Vodafone's core mobile, and fixed broadband and telephony business. However, in September 2017 Vodafone inked a deal with pay TV operator Nova for carriage rights for six Nova Sports channels, and in January 2018 acquired the Greek operations of Cypriot telco CYTA (which also included an IPTV service).
The growth strategy of Vodafone is two-prong. A large part of this is based on acquisitional growth, as the cases of HOL and CYTA indicate. Vodafone's recent joint-bid with WIND for the potential acquisition of Forthnet provides further evidence of inorganic growth strategy. At the same time, the telco is clearly focusing also on promoting organic growth for the near future. This is testified by the deal with Nova, since a solid sports portfolio is an important driver of growth in the Greek market. The launch of the standalone OTT service, Vodafone TV, provides yet another clue on the direction of Vodafone’s strategy in respect to TV.
Despite the potential for cannibalisation of Vodafone's own IPTV service, IHS Markit believe the operator has launched an OTT service for the following reasons: