The race to become the first pan European pay OTT operator serving live and linear programming is currently being led by Swedish start-up Magine TV, which is now operating in Spain and Germany as well as its domestic market. Having raised a total $25.5 million in funding, Magine TV has succeeded in acquiring significant rights in all three countries and gained well more than 100,000 subscribers for its subscription-based service, which in Sweden costs SEK 99 (US $14) for access to TV content, including catch-up going back seven days for all channels. It is currently available on PCs, Apple iOS devices and leading smart TV models. The operator has just added LG Electronics, Panasonic and Philips smart TVs to its device cast, with Samsung already on board and the other major multiscreen platforms expected to join.
Magine TV also plans to launch in several other markets within the next few months, although it has declined to identify them. Its strategy is based on acquisition of significant premium rights from local broadcasters before launching so that it can offer a lower-cost alternative to traditional pay TV services with at least some of the same popular content.
In Sweden, where Magine TV has been going almost a year since its commercial launch in March 2013, it offers programming from public broadcaster SVT and private broadcaster TV4, as well as international channels CNN International, BBC, Eurosport, National Geographic, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
In Germany, Magine does not have rights to live Bundesliga football matches, as these are held by Sky Deutschland, but it does provide content from commercial broadcaster RTL, again including Eurosport, Nickelodeon and, in this case, Comedy Central. Then in Spain, where a beta version of Magine was launched in July 2013, content deals have been secured with Chello Multicanal, Viacom Spain, Cosmopolitan and National Geographic Channel Spain.
Meanwhile, Magine has published a survey based on 1500 of its users in Sweden, Germany and Spain, suggesting that its cloud TV service was changing viewing habits and driving increased consumption. Now 29 percent of all Magine users access the service on TVs at home, either smart TVs or standard sets connected from computers and tablets via cords or via Apple Airplay. Just after the Swedish launch, in April 2013, consumers on average used the platform to watch 80 minutes of TV content per day across all the platforms. By September 2013, this had grown to an average of 120 minutes of TV content each day in the case of Swedish users.
Significantly, 50 percent of respondents said that they were watching more TV content overall as a result of using Magine, while in both Sweden and Spain, 27 percent of respondents said that they would consider the service as a full replacement for existing, established options for accessing TV content.