Championing the Role of Local TV Aggregator
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Jake Megeary
Distinguishing itself from the growing presence of local and international entrants in the pay-TV entertainment market, RiksTV has expanded its distribution and content reach in the Norwegian pay-TV market by creating a unique platform that blends high quality content from national and international content owners on traditional linear (DTT) and on-demand (OTT) distribution platforms, where ease of use, accessibility and freedom of choice rests at the centre of its value proposition.
Founded in 2005, with its first set of channels launched in 2007, RiksTV began operating in the midst of the digital revolution, embracing the latest broadcast technology trends to distribute linear TV content to the Norwegian market.
“When we first entered the market in 2007, we were a ‘traditional’ linear TV distributor, while today, we are using all the experience gained to combine the best of new technologies together to create an all-inclusive service offering that provides seamless experience and access to both linear and on-demand content to our customers,” explains Christopher Knudsen, Director of Technology at RiksTV.
As digitisation of TV distribution and entrants of international media companies accelerated in the local market, so has the level of innovation in the television market; with the rapid growth of streaming services, wider range of international and niche channels and ubiquitous access to content on any device.
Today, RiksTV has more than 500,000 customers and a wide range of TV packages to suit all demographics, an on-demand service and the RiksTV app for tablet and mobile devices. There are now more than 3,000 RiksTV-approved TV and set top boxes available from more than 800 retailers in Norway.
“Despite facing the challenge of new entrants into the market, both local and international, we have been able to maintain our customer base and seek opportunities for growth” he further highlights.
In Norway, the digital terrestrial network has grown to become one of the largest in the world with a network of 450 transmitters. These masts transmit TV signals wirelessly and approximately 98 percent of households and 80 percent of the leisure market are able to receive a signal from RiksTV transmitters. “RiksTV is wireless and available almost everywhere in Norway, including the coastline,” confirms Knudsen.
With more than 50 channels including local radio stations, RiksTV blends together local content with accessibility, ease of use, freedom of choice and convenience to create an intuitive service offering that attracts a rural customer base evenly distributed across Norway.
Prior to RiksTV, local Norwegian channels used to be assigned to various networks which would mean in order to access the full local channel list, customers would often have to subscribe to more than one pay-TV service. The launch of DTT in 2007 enabled RiksTV to “tear down this wall”, aggregating the majority of local content providers through the RiksTV platform in order to give the customer “better freedom of choice”.
Knudsen details: “As a relatively young operator in a saturated market, we were initially seen as a lofty entrepreneurial entrant. However, our focus on being an innovator who challenges existing pay-TV packing and business models, combined with our strategic partnering and local sourcing model, has helped us to attract and retain customers in Norway.
“Our lean organisation, continuous focus on agility through our work practices, combined with strategic partnering and sourcing is what sets us apart and enables us to quickly adapt new technologies and deploy new services. A focus on building and attracting core competency and organisational capabilities that allows for experimentation when it comes to testing out new ideas and product offerings has been vital to continue our success.
As a result of our customer commitment and focus on our operation and product development, we were awarded with ‘customer service provider of the year’ four times from 2008-2012.”
Freedom of choice
RiksTV was the first operator in Europe to offer customers the freedom of choice and create a subscriber package with channels tailored for every individual.
“Our multi-room solution complements this, allowing customers to access the RiksTV service in up to four rooms or places for one monthly fee,” he adds.
This year, the Company launched a new and improved version of its terrestrial receiver, the SMART-box II with built-in Wi-Fi, further improving access to on-demand content and an improved user experience. Knudsen notes: “The SMART-box offers our customers seamless access to a range of both DTT and OTT channels and value-add services such as video on-demand and catch-up services.”
Further bolstering its service offering, the network launched its children’s iPad and television application, RiksTV Junior, which is included in an ordinary subscription for no extra cost. “This is in recognition of the growing need to create packages suited for the young family; providing easy access to child-safe content,” he continues.
RiksTV’s product development going forward will be focused on both continuous improvement of its existing services and taking advantage of new technology to make the Company’s on-demand and streaming service more accessible to a wider demographic.
Knudsen explains: “By taking advantage of data gathered from the adoption and use of both our linear and on-demand streaming service, we can better analyse and gain insight into what content our customers are watching, when they are tuning in, where they are watching from and on what devices. This will enable us to carefully customise our content and services offering to best suit our customer’s entertainment needs.
“This is currently a big market opportunity for us, with around 40 percent of Norwegian viewers watching via PC, tablet or smart phone. Given our extensive reach across the population, we need to make sure we provide seamless content for all across the various viewing platforms we offer in the hopes to increase our demographic reach.”
Going forward, the challenge for RiksTV lies in securing its position as the preferred local pay-TV aggregator that allow users to access the content they want, when they want, where they want.
Knudsen concludes: “Ultimately, Norwegian viewers will always want access to high quality live content and local productions, in combination with international series, film and other on-demand content. RiksTV, with our local focus, organisational capabilities and partnership with local content providers, has a unique possibility to take the content aggregator role and serve all this great content to our customers in a seamless and easy-to-use way regardless of their viewing preferences. We want to be known as championing local content in order to keep this element of our local culture alive, even in the face of challenge from international content providers.
“We and our partners need to be able to capitalise on our advantages and organisational competencies in this market, leveraging the latest trends as a springboard to test out and launch new ideas as quickly as possible, in order to witness the long-term gains.”