“People wanted a new player on the cable market”: Which sports channels will Telenor be offering
Customers in Serbia like to follow trends, they are interested in trying out new products or services, and we do not fall behind in that regard when compared to much more developed countries, says one of the chief officers at Telenor, a company that recently entered the cable market.
Serbia is ready for another strong operator in the TV content distribution market, because it brings healthy competition, new investments and advantages for everyone: customers, telecommunications market and the society, Goran Vasić, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Telenor, told Telegraf Biznis.
- We are also aware of the fact that our competition has been developing its platforms and offers for more than a decade, but we are fast, innovative and we will focus all our energy on developing new services for households in the coming years. This is the most important step for us, because “entering” households is the key driver of our further development – Vasić said in an interview for our portal.
We talked with Vasić about what Telenor’s entry into the market means for the media, but also how much the company has invested in this major project, as well as whether there would be room for new job openings.
- At the end of last winter, we talked to Mike Michel from your company, and he announced that Telenor would be entering the market of cable operators – is there room for another big player on the market?
- In a nutshell, yes. In this segment, people in Serbia can still choose between a very limited number of companies and offers. According to the results of a research we conducted in February this year, as many as 60 percent of people in Serbia believe that a new cable TV and fixed internet operator is needed, because they want a greater variety of offers.
So, our market was ready for another operator in the TV content distribution market. On the other hand, our ambition was to further develop and expand our business in Serbia. After years of groundwork, in mid-November, we launched Hipernet, as a new service for households, wanting to bring a new level of quality to this market segment.
- What will be your key advantage?
- Our key advantage is Hipernet, as a complete service and experience we offer.
I would like to point out that there are at least three reasons why customers should try it. First of all, Hipernet has the best fiber optic internet for the whole household and stable Wi-Fi in every corner of the house, and for every member of the household. According to our research, this is extremely important to people, particularly when there are several members with different needs in the same household.
Furthermore, our digital television is a new generation of television, which differs in approach from what has been available so far.
And third, truly high quality customer experience during interaction with us – from the moment of installation, through customer support, to the quality of service. To sum it up, when preparing the service that we will present, we focused on what is the most important to customers and adjusted the entire experience to their wishes and needs.
- What will that mean for the media, and the offer in that regard?
- First of all, a different experience of watching your favorite TV content. With our version of digital television, we want to remove all the artificial barriers that often exist between customers and the content they want to watch, and bring them closer to the content they are the most interested in.
What does this mean? This means that you, as the customer, can see first the content that is the most interesting to you personally, so you do not have to waste your time searching for content. Whether it's sports, series, movies or something else, customers will be able to find their favorite content in the fastest possible way.
This concept of television is something completely new in our market, and that is why we decided to launch digital television in test version, and continue to develop it based on customer feedback. In other words, customer feedback will help us continue creating an even better product, as we are only at the beginning.
- You know what people want to know, at least those among them that follow sports, whether they would be able to watch Arena or Sport klub?
- We want to include in our offer all available content from different TV content owners and producers, we have been saying this clearly since the beginning of this year. At this moment, we have purchased the rights to broadcast Arena Sport, but we have not yet acquired the rights to distribute the content produced or owned by United Group, although we have made several requests to do so. We remain open to continue negotiations on this content on commercial terms. We are convinced that United Group will eventually realize the importance and advantages of giving the rights to its channels, which include Sport Klub, but also N1, Nova S and others.
- What are the estimates – how much investment does your company need and when could the investment pay off?
- Our plan is to invest almost 300 million euro in the next five years. Given that we launched Hipernet only a few weeks ago, it is certain that we will need some time to adapt to the market and customers’ needs. Furthermore, we are also aware that our competition has been developing its platforms and offers for more than a decade, but we are fast, innovative and will focus all our energy on developing new services for households in the coming years.
We will be fully committed to offering customers in Serbia a unique experience in this segment. This is the most important step for us, because “entering” households is the key driver of our further development.
- Is there any room for new job openings in that regard?
- We have already hired additional 200 people in order to roll out Hipernet on the Serbian market, and it is quite certain that, with the growth of the market, there will be room for new job openings within our team.
- Will Telenor start creating TV content, like the other two operators?
- We have just entered the TV channel distribution market and we will remain focused on that. At the moment, we are not thinking about producing our own channels and content.
- Your parent company has experience in providing similar services in other markets in which it operates. Are you going to “take a leaf out of their book” in some way?
- The experience and expertise that PPF has in other markets was certainly important to us in Serbia, particularly now, when we are opening a completely new chapter of our business. We share knowledge and experience with other companies within the Group, and we develop some things together, in order to be faster and more agile, or simply, to use all the capacities within the group.
- The period of adjustment in e-fiscalization is beginning – can small enterprises count on Hipernet or Telenor in that regard?
- Telenor supports digitalization of the economy and when it comes to small enterprises, our current focus is to help them move to a new model of fiscalization, by 30 April 2022, as required by the law. We have developed a turnkey solution from devices and technical solutions, through installation, training and full customer support.
- Is the telecommunications business the business of the future?
- The ICT sector has always been the axis of economic development, and the importance of telecommunications has come to the fore in the past year and a half. From the moment the pandemic started, we were the ones who connected people with their work, school, family and friends. In a way, the pandemic only accelerated the trends that were bound to happen.
Today, this sector is more interesting than ever. For all those who like to be part of the solution, to work on innovations, I would say that telecommunications is for you.
- What are the customers like in Serbia, what does your experience show, are they interested in technology?
- Customers in Serbia are very much interested in new technologies. Customers in Serbia like to follow trends, they are interested in trying out new products or services, and we do not fall behind in that regard when compared to much more developed countries.
Our approach is to follow customer wishes and needs, but also to educate the market and introduce new solutions, all in line with digitalization, which is crucial for the further development of our society.
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