Sky taps OTT to bring Asian content to Europe

Consumers in the UK, Italy and Germany can now access a variety of Asian content including film, TV entertainment and news channels through one online portal on OnPrime TV, an app-based streaming service just launched by Sky in partnership with Cisco.

The app is hitched to Apple TV and can be downloaded via the app store on Apple TV4, or by searching for OnPrime TV on Apple TV3. The current content catalogue includes Sky South Asian, Sky Arabic and Sky Russian channel packs, all downlinked and encoded by Encompass Digital Media.

The service runs on Cisco’s Infinite Video Platform (IVP), the revamped version of its previous Videoscape launched in 2011, which had struggled to gain the hoped-for traction with Tier 1 operators. Cisco has presented IVP as the grown-up version of Videoscape for the multiscreen age of cloud services. It has combined extensive internal development with multiple acquisitions and numerous product cycles to provide all the requisite components and consolidate them into one unified platform. IVP has various options for managing video delivery, including modules for linear, on demand, analytics, administration, service provisioning, security and advertising, as well as the IVP Labs prototyping and testing.

As well as producing a more flexible, complete and fully integrated package, Cisco now allows operators to prototype features and complete services in its Infinite Video Platform Labs launched around the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017. This is helping sell the platform to major operators, although Sky was already well on board with a relationship dating back years as a CAS (Conditional Access System) customer of NDS, which Cisco acquired for $5 billion in 2012. “Sky has worked closely with Cisco for years, and we’re pleased to be partnering with them on this innovative new service,” said Emma Lloyd, group director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, Sky.

Sky’s OnPrime exemplifies how leading operators are attempting to derive new OTT revenue streams by acquiring foreign language content and packaging it in dedicated bundles at significant prices. Sky is charging £9.99 ($12.50) a month in the UK for its new Arabian pack, £12.99 for the South Asian one and £17.99 for the Russian, so some well above the costs say of Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video. The hope clearly is that the packages will attract wealthier diaspora as well as serious viewers who like content from those target areas and are attracted by the wide selection available.

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