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Deutsche Telekom Launches MagentaTV as German OTT Market Heats Up

Deutsche Telekom launched a new OTT service Wednesday as the German market heats up, with research suggesting that Netflix now has more subscribers than paybox Sky Deutschland. That finding comes after similar trends were reported in the Britain, meaning that streaming subscribers now surpass traditional pay-TV users in Europe’s two biggest markets.

The deep-pocketed incumbent telcos in Germany and the U.K. – Deutsche Telekom and BT, respectively – also want in on the action. Deutsche Telekom has revamped and re-branded its television offering to MagentaTV, which launched Wednesday.

MagentaTV will offer series and movies as well as programming from the catchup services of German pubcasters ARD and ZDF. In addition to a full-fat 300-channel service available through an IPTV settop box, there will be a skinnier over-the-top streaming equivalent for €7.95 ($9.07) a month. For that, subscribers will get about 75 channels.

“Telekom’s TV business is one of the key pillars of our growth strategy,” said Michael Hagspihl, MD, of the division that includes MagentaTV. “The combination of the best platform, strong partnerships and exclusive content remains our recipe for success for the future.” 

The German telco has already inked a deal to allow its TV subscribers to access Netflix via its service.

The latest research underlines Netflix’s increasing sway in the German market. The streamer does not break out subscriber numbers by territory internationally, but Ampere Analysis estimates that it overtook Sky in the third quarter of last year, with 5.1 million customers compared with Sky’s 4.8 million. Amazon had 9.9 million subscribers at that point, with customers generally signing up to the wider Prime retail service, which includes Prime Video, instead of the TV offering as a standalone product.

Sky Deutschland’s latest subscribers count is 5.2 million, but it is safe to assume that Netflix and Amazon have also registered new customers. While the growth of the U.S. SVODs is a threat to the traditional pay-TV firms, it is not an either-or choice for many households, which take both. The research suggests that more than half of German broadband homes already take at least two SVOD services.

Aside from Netflix and Amazon, there is also room for more niche entrants. In transactional VOD, Pantaflix is a prime mover in Germany and has deals with major U.S. studios and local players.

Deutsche Telekom’s MagentaTV launch came on the same day that ITV-backed Cirkus inked a deal with Vodafone for its Pure European Crime on-demand offering. It has British crime series including “Lewis,” “Prime Suspect,” and “Agatha Christie’s Poirot.” The €3.99 ($4.55) a month service is available through Vodafone’s GigaTV platform, which subscribers access through a set-top box or through an app while on the go.

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