Streaming Forum Preview: HBO Europe Case Study

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When HBO GO launched in the U.S. in 2011, it was a rare example of an old media giant getting a new media application right the first time. The app brought iOS users—and later other device owners—access to not only all of HBO's current offerings, including non-HBO feature films, but also access to every episode of every HBO original series and special. What's more, it presented the content in a slick, inviting, and easy-to-use app that practically begged you to watch it.

About the only complaint anyone had about it is the one that dogs it to this day, even after it's launched in other markets including European ones: If you want HBO GO, you have to pay for HBO as part of your cable or satellite subscription. Unless, that is, you live in Denmark, Finland, Norway, or Sweden; HBO Nordic offers HBO GO as a standalone product. At the time of HBO Nordic's launch in August 2012, the company told Gizmodo that it approached "each market on a case by case basis. This model is specific to the Nordic region, taking into consideration the various factors specific to these countries. This does not impact in any way the HBO offerings in other territories."

That reference to "other territories" highlights the fact that, when it comes to taking service that's popular in one country and trying to launch it in another, there are at least as many challenges as opportunities. Attendees at Streaming Forum in London on 18 June will have a unique opportunity to hear about those challenges and opportunities in a case study session called "HBO Europe: A Broadcaster's Guide to TV Everywhere." HBO Europe—a distinct entity from HBO U.S., HBO UK, HBO Nordic...well, you get the picture.

Headquartered in Budapest, HBO Europe provides basic and premium channels to 15 countries: Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Moldova, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the Netherlands, HBO Europe provides HBO HD and SD channels, HBO On Demand and HBO GO through HBO Nederland, a joint venture between HBO and Ziggo BV. HBO Europe offers five high quality movie channels (HBO, HBO2, HBO Comedy, Cinemax and Cinemax2) and six high definition channels (HBO HD, HBO2 HD, HBO3 HD, HBO Comedy HD, Cinemax HD and Cinemax2 HD), as well as the subscription video on demand service HBO ON DEMAND, and the broadband SVOD service, HBO GO.

That's enough to make your head spin, but HBO Europe new media director János Szilárdi will attempt to shed some light on the complex technology and rights issues that go into rolling out a digital service like HBO Europe. He'll be joined in the session by Péter Riz, head of HBO GO technical deployment, and Zsolt Csermák and Péter Dikházi, CEO and CTO (respectively) of Digital Medi Experience LLC, one of HBO Europe's partners.

Szilárdi and the other speakers will look at the questions HBO Europe faced when it decided to launch online and mobile offerings, and then share the answers they arrived at to launch the services. They'll demonstrate the service and provide some business-related figures demonstrating the services' success, offering a rare chance to get a peek behind the scenes at a major international broadcaster's efforts to roll out new services across heterogeneous markets.

There's still time to register for Streaming Forum, which will be held on 18-19 June at Park Plaza Victoria in London; click here for the full programme.

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