The percentage of available subscribers accessing YouTube via existing UPC STBs in Hungary has risen substantially to 80%, according to figures released by the firm's CTO of Central and Eastern Europe, Arpad Jordan.
Speaking at the OTT World Summit, Jordan revealed that six months into roll-out of the service, a similar percentage have returned for repeat views, with, in September 2014, more than half of available subscribers accessing the service, and more than half returning for a second look. At that time, UPC Hungary also said that subscribers were viewing a million YouTube minutes per day, with an average engagement length of 45 minutes.
The project is seeing a hardware cost to UPC Hungary of less than €1 per STB and the firm plans to expand to 250,000 standard definition STBs.
Emphasising the importance of YouTube in building value of service and reducing churn, and outlining the business model of a more or less free service, Jordan added: "We expected from previous experience something around 30-40% of take-up rate ... The 'less than euro' is a good number for me, because that means it's really a very small addition. I think everybody's a little bit afraid of 'yeah, you need to boost up the cloud' or 'you need to boost up a lot of hardware', but that's not really the case. You can be very efficient with this. Basically this was not envisioned as a value-added service in a traditional way like a premium, monthly-charge service. It was envisioned as part of the platform. This bundling exercise for cable has been extremely valuable and the pricing power within the bundle has been extremely valuable, so this application launch has helped us with that route just to create more value in our bundle and reduce churn and be really different from competition.
"I think the beauty of this solution is 200,000 set-top boxes all overnight. This is not like the usual OTT ramp-up where you need to somehow distribute your devices or you need to deal with a very fragile or fragmented operating system or platform in general. This is a big "BOOM" and now with 250,000 extra we just have again an extra boost."
Jordan said that the company's intention was to embrace the new technology, embedded on every new set-top box using ActiveVideo technology to augment over-the-top set-top box capability with help from the cloud. "It's like a cycle; it's not a one-time success, but it's a technology that can always augment, that can always extend the capabilities of any kind of set-top box, which will always be constrained in memory, CPU, with a little help from the cloud," he concluded.