In a move to show that 2017 will be the year of watching video quality content, Vodafone Romania has announced the launching of the video and music streaming service 4GTV+ and a new partnership for the Romanian market with Netflix, the world’s leading internet television network. The announcement was made by Ravinder Takkar, President and CEO of Vodafone Romania, on Friday at the 9th edition of Webstock, an event attended by several hundred people passionate about the digital evolution in Romania and worldwide.
The launch of the new multimedia service comes almost a month after Vodafone announced the launch of the Supernet 4G+ service, which features lab-tested download speeds of over 1 Gbps, and according to the Ravinder Takkar’s statements, the telecom operator he leads does not intend to stop here.
“After launching Supernet 4G+, the network that enables future developments and innovation in customer experience, we are announcing today 4GTV+ service, which will allow our customers to consume personalized content anytime, anywhere. 4GTV+ provides our users with access to the most relevant local and global content in an innovative and intuitive way”, Ravinder Takkar, President and CEO of Vodafone Romania, stated.
4GTV+ offers access to a broad series of TV channels, covering all types of content from news to entertainment, both local and international. The service also includes 36 million songs provided by Zonga and successful productions provided by partners such as Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney Channel On Demand.
4GTV+ users can watch live TV, but also pause some of the live shows and play them later from that same moment on or rewind to the beginning, with the “Restart and rewind” feature. Also, by using the “Catch-up” feature, customers can watch a selection of the shows that they missed while they were broadcasted live, for the following 72 hours. In addition, users benefit from multiscreen experience, as they can send some of the 4GTV+ content on TV screens and, in parallel, continue to use their phone for calls or any other actions without interrupting the video viewing. Customers can also benefit from session continuity, an option which allows them to pause viewing of some of the content and resume at any time from the exact moment of the pause.
The 4GTV+ launch brought on the same stage Ravinder Takkar, Vodafone Romania President and CEO, and Chris Whiteley, VP Business Development Netflix for EMEA (Europe the Middle East and Africa), at the 9th edition of Webstock, the annual event that brings together those with a passion for digital innovation.
The partnership between Vodafone and Netflix implies a long term thinking and strategy
The announcement of the partnership between Vodafone and Netflix and of the new 4GTV+ service started with the presentation of the way people are using their mobile phones but also of the users’ ever more noticeable preference for video, especially when it comes to young users.
“Vodafone is a global partner for Netflix and we are thrilled to expand this relationship to Romania today”, said Chris Whiteley, VP Business Development, EMEA, Netflix. “With this promotion, Vodafone consumers will be able to easily access Netflix’s critically acclaimed original content and enjoy a new way of watching television”.
The service is available to all Vodafone Romania users on smartphones and tablets by downloading 4GTV+ app from App Store and Google Play. Postpaid users can benefit from the entire content provided by the service, which includes an exclusive gift subscription for three months of Netflix, for price plans starting from Red 19 and above.
From the presentation offered last Friday at Webstock we found out that smartphones have a penetration rate of 63 percent among Vodafone customers, and 53 percent of the data traffic registered by the operator represents video content.
At the same time, 21 million hours of video are viewed each month. In contrast, social media registers 28 million hours of use and internet browsing 23 million hours. Likewise, 86 percent of Romanian mobile users watch at least one video clip per week. “The audience changes and with it the options it would like available,” the Vodafone Romania CEO emphasised.
Most customers prefer to access content on several devices, to receive recommendations for new television series, films or shows and want to select what they should see, they want customisation. Ravinder Takkar pointed out that, according to surveys, users under the age of 35 prefer to watch videos online – 28.5 hours per week – at the expense of classical television (8.3 hours per week).
This is the target audience of the 4GTV+ service included in Red 19 and higher subscriptions, and Netflix rounds off the content range.
Netflix representative Chris Whiteley offered in his turn too some figures about this global platform and gave some details about the company’s future outlook: it has 83 million users, with 125 million hours of video watched daily, and these are the figures for the second quarter of 2016 alone. Moreover, in 2016 they added 600 hours of original content, such as “Narcos,” the popular new series, or “House of Cards,” the series which generated jokes, analyses, debates and positive reviews on the internet, as well as comparisons with real life. “Netflix is now on approximately a significant number of devices and what we want is to give people the option to see what they want, where they want, with no constraints,” Whiteley stated.
“Netflix offers a new way of watching TV, giving its members the ability to enjoy TV series and films when, how and where they want with seamless instant access across any internet-enabled device. Hollywood movies, top TV shows, documentaries, independent films, stand-up comedy and a wide range of kids’ titles are now available to watch instantly on Netflix,” he added.
“The consumption of video content is on the rise in the world and in Romania. Now, for us, the most important thing is to put such services at the customers’ disposal and to make the content available anywhere, anytime. Our goal is to offer fast data services available in all the areas in which we offer voice services too,” Vodafone Romania President and CEO Ravinder Takkar added.
Vodafone’s partnership with Netflix is already working worldwide and this joint service offered to customers was relatively easy to implement, although it required a significant volume of work at the commercial and technical teams level, Ravinder Takkar said.
The trends are already showing that we can talk about a new type of television, the Vodafone Romania CEO explained. “When someone mentions the word “TV,” I’m thinking about the classical TV. But my 15-year-old daughter is not, she relates to the way she consumes TV, namely on any device,” the Vodafone Romania CEO added.
Future focus on innovation and on adding quality content
In this context, he mentioned that 4GTV+ is launched within a communication campaign that runs on TV, print, online and outdoor, built around the message “The future of TV is here”.
Although they avoided revealing figures and estimates on the growth in the number of customers as a result of this partnership, both Ravinder Takkar and Chris Whiteley have underlined that this partnership between Vodafone and Netflix implies a long term thinking and strategy aimed first of all to offering quality content to customers.
They both emphasised that the main challenge in the upcoming period will be the stress laid on innovation, in the sense of developing the platform and adding quality content depending on the consumers’ preferences.
“For us, innovation starts with the quality network, it’s the fundamental thing that we can do. As we are driven by what customers would like to watch, we’ll continue to work to enhance platform, to add content that people would like to watch and use,” Ravinder Takkar promised. “I’m absolutely convinced that there are opportunities to add more and more content in the future, also non-traditional”.
“We are only at the start of the journey,” Chris Whiteley said. He did not rule out returning to Romania with other surprise official announcement related to both the diversification of Netflix’s offer on the Romanian market but also to the partnership with Vodafone.
“We can never predict the future,” Ravinder Takkar concluded, suggesting that surprises are still in store for Romanian consumers.