[THE INVESTOR] Satellite broadcasting company KT Skylife on Sept. 19 announced the launch of its new over-the-top streaming service Telebee.
The OTT market is an emerging media business segment with global firms such as Netflix, Apple and Amazon pouring resources to increase market share. In Korea, network operators including KT Corp., SK Telecom and LG Uplus, are currently running their own OTT businesses.
In a bid to gain the upper hand in the growing OTT market, KT Skylife has decided to work together with Xiaomi and Google, which are, respectively, in charge of producing the pocket-sized set-top box and operating system for Telebee. Subscribers of the new service can watch TV programs as well as video content available on popular internet video platforms and portals, such as YouTube, Facebook and Naver.
“Skylife aims to make Telebee an open video platform through partnerships with various firms in different business areas, such as Xiaomi, Google, Naver, Facebook and Watcha Play,” said KT Skylife CEO Lee Nam-ki, speaking at the launch event of the service in Seoul.
The basic plan for the Telebee service, available for 3,300 won (US$2.9), offers eight terrestrial and comprehensive programming channels. Users can choose to pay to watch their favorite cable TV channels by paying, around 550 won each, on a monthly basis.
“The fact that users do not need to sign up for a two- or three-year contract and the relatively cheap starting price will be the biggest competitive edge and appeal to those in their 20s and 30s,” said an official from KT Skylife, adding the firm will be able to attract 200,000 Telebee subscribers by next year.
In order to attract more partners, KT Skylife said it would try to offer most of the profits from the Telebee service to content providers for a while.
The portable set-top box, which is sold for 89,000 won, can be connected to TVs or projectors through a HDMI cable, making it easier for users to watch their favorite content anywhere, according KT Skylife.
According to data cited by the broadcasting company, the global OTT market is expected to grow to US$5.9 billion worldwide by 2019.
The anticipated growth of the market is in line with the changing market trends, such as the increasing number of single-person households, the Korean broadcasting firm said.
By Kim Young-won (email@example.com)