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Balkans.com: You must have a lot of experience being with Telenor for over 40 years, where do you see the Broadband TV market heading?
Leiv Svenning: There has certainly been plenty of change and I fully expect this trend to continue. At the top level and obviously speaking generally in the CEE I am expecting to see more growth in linear channels and an accelerating trend in HD services, which are attractive to viewers. I also expect to see more on demand services, particularly “catch up” services which are proving to be highly attractive in the marketplace. There will be more and more video and obviously much of this will be delivered using broadband connectivity.
Balkans.com: What challenges and/or opportunities exist in this industry?
Leiv Svenning: There are plenty of opportunities in the industry. From the satellite operators perspective we expect to see more demand for our services from new players, new channels, new HD services and longer down the line, we expect Ultra HD to come to the market.
Balkans.com: How imperative is expansion of the multiscreen and over-the-top delivery market for the Balkans?
Leiv Svenning: As a general observation it seems to me that consumers are increasingly expecting to be able to watch content at any time on multiple devices. At the same time it is clear that the classic linear TV model is also thriving, and showing growth in many countries in Europe. It seems to me therefore that the model which is being established is a hybrid, with linear programming being broadcast principally using the more traditional technologies such as satellite, and unicast content being delivered on demand over the top.
Balkans.com: The Zagreb Business Breakfast: Multiscreen and OTT in Croatia is an important event to foster knowledge of the digital TV market, are you planning to hold this event in other cities in the Balkans?
Leiv Svenning: The Business Breakfast on May 28th is the latest in a longstanding series of mini-conferences. It has proved to be a very successful format, encouraging networking around a mini conference which concentrates on the key issues faced by the media industry in specific countries, as well as broader industry matters. In fact this is the second time we have been to Zagreb, and we have every reason to expect this meeting to be as interesting and successful as the first. Over the years we have held Business Breakfasts in Prague, Bucharest, Sofia, Bratislava, Belgrade and Budapest.
Balkans.com: Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc) launched the W1 in Bulgaria and is working with Neterra in developing its DTH proposition for the Bulgarian market, are you working with other operators to develop DTH propositions anywhere else in the Balkan region?
Leiv Svenning: Telenor Satellite Broadcasting provides the satellite capacity on our THOR satellites and other technical facilities for Neterra and is obviously supportive of their W1 proposition, but we are not active as investors or managers in the project. Obviously we wish Neterra as one of our customers every success, and are pleased with the progress they are making even at this early stage. The THOR satellites, THOR5 and THOR6 have made 1˚West a key position for the distribution of digital television in many countries in the broad Central and Eastern European region, and we currently have considerable interest in this capability from a number of potential customers. 1˚ West will be further strengthened, when THOR7 is launched in 2014, and there is also interest in the capacity which this new satellite will bring to the market.
Balkans.com: What other innovations and/or developments will Telenor be introducing in the CEE region?
Leiv Svenning: Obviously the major development is the new satellite THOR7 to be launched next year and the capacity which that will introduce. THOR7 has an excellent footprint providing DTH coverage of the CEE area and the Nordic region. We support this offer with a fibre network in the region and are able to assist our customers with teleport services from Nittedal, our major earth station outside Oslo, if they need to manage the speedy introduction of service.
Balkans.com: With the struggling economy not many companies have not reported growth but Telenor Group has just reported an organic revenue growth of 5% in fourth quarter 2012, can you tell our readers what do you attribute that success to?
Leiv Svenning: The Telenor group is one of the largest mobile operators in the world, and we have operations in several countries in Asia as well as here in Europe. As you state the business as a whole has shown good growth in recent years. Talking about the satellite business specifically, we have established a market leading position in the provision of satellite capacity to DTH operators in the CEE and the Nordic region delivering programming to a total of some 17 million households. Furthermore we are also increasingly our focus upon providing network and data services to the maritime and offshore (oil and gas) sectors, and expect to see significant growth in all these areas when THOR 7 commences commercial operation (Q4, 2014).
About Telenor Satellite Broadcasting AS
Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc) is a major European satellite provider of broadcast and broadband services for customers in the media, maritime, and oil and gas sectors. Utilising a hybrid network that comprises our satellite fleet, teleports and a terrestrial fibre network, TSBc delivers turnkey broadcasting solutions, end-user connectivity and application services via satellite throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. From the distribution of digital TV and radio content to millions of European homes to the provision of reliable communications in remote locations on land and at sea, we are committed to keeping our customers connected via satellite. Visit the company’s website at www.telenorsat.com
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