Altice Starts Down the 4K Pay TV Path in France

– Offers Netflix-like OTT Service on All Devices
– Intends to Take the Service to Other Countries
– Could That Include Cablevision and Suddenlink in the States?
– New NTB Too That Uses Nagra’s AnyCast Content Security Technology

Undeterred by the weekend’s horrific atrocities, Paris-headquartered SFR will this week launch a subscription-based OTT service called Zive (being pronounced by the company to rhyme with “chive”) that includes 400 pieces of 4K content from day one.

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It’s business as usual for France: Altice launches Zive this week

 

It means that France is not yet getting full-blown 4K linear pay TV channels but Altice’s SFR (née Numericable) is starting down that path.

This indicates that Altice moves quickly with new technologies, a warning to US telcos and cablecos that operate in the footprint of Altice’s upcoming acquisitions Cablevision and Suddenlink. It’s also a warning to US cellcos because of Altice’s deployments of Wi-Fi First phone service.

Zive will be available on all devices – smartphones, tablets, TVs, a new SFR NTB and PCs. One year after SFR and Numericable merged, the Numericable brand name will disappear. We expect that Altice will continue to consolidate its operating brands, which will ultimately include Cablevision and Suddenlink.

SFR is quite clear that its SVoD service is a direct competitor to Netflix, Canal +’s Canalplay and other OTT services. It will replace Canalplay in the extras that SFR offers its subscribers; a loss of thousands of subscribers to Canal + The fee is €9.99 ($10.73) per month just like its rivals. It will be free to SFR subscribers of its fixed broadband and mobile subscribers.

 

Zive boite SFR

Zive: 4K content available immediately

 

SFR said Zive will have at launch about 5,000 pieces of content – movies, series, documentaries, cartoons and karaoke. Its goal is to have 10,000 in the first half of 2016, which is about the same, it said, as Netflix and Canalplay. Its target is the youth/family market.

SFR says it has contracts with the likes of Disney, ABC Studios, Warner, Sony, France Télévisions and Lagardère. It also plans to produce some of its own content a la Netflix and Amazon, according to SFR CEO Eric Denoyer.

SFR said it intends to expand the service to other countries, which suggests that it’ll soon be available to Cablevision and Suddenlink subscribers.

SFR’s heart and soul is its fixed line broadband service, which is a combination of fiber and coax. The newly hired (from Alcatel-Lucent) SFR president Michel Combes said, “We will first focus on the fixed, because that is what irrigates homes. We then offer content; we deploy on the mobile.” According to the French Web news site Challenge Soir, he talked about “double convergence” between fixed and mobile and also between physical networks and content.

 

Nagra

SFR will also launch on November 17 a new 4K-capable NTB called “La Box Fibre Zive de SFR,” which it claims is “the most powerful of the market.” The box will use Nagra’s technology to provide security for its new 4K STB, which will allow both on-demand and streaming of 4K content. Note the use of the word “fiber” in the name. SFR said its new service is France’s “most advanced” 4K service. Live linear is not included, at least not yet.

Nagra is a division of Kudelski Group, which says it is “the world’s leading independent provider of content protection and multi-screen television solutions.” SFR will use Nagra’s 4K-capable anyCAST content protection MediaLive multi-screen and video player technology.

SFR’s streaming service is called “ShareCast” and the on-demand service is called “Video Store.” Both can be streamed to mobile devices within the home – in addition to TV sets.

Thierry Legrand, Nagra’s SVP of sales for the EMEA region, said SFR is setting a new benchmark with its 4K services for French viewers and that Nagra, a long time supplier to Numericable-SFR, applauds it for …

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