Maltese viewers’ appetite for HD TV and video on demand grows
It has been a little more than two years since Melita launched HD TV in Malta and a year since it rolled out the first commercial Maltese video on demand service. After tackling the expected teething problems, it seems both services are steadily increasing in popularity and more HD channels are added regularly and video on demand views are steadily heading to one million.
“Over the last couple of years, Melita raised the bar and set new milestones for innovation in television products in the Maltese Islands,” a Melita spokesman said. “Our investment in launching high definition TV in Malta was the first milestone just in time to enable our customers to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Interactive TV was rolled out along with HD TV, providing customers with more control of their viewing habits. The new Netbox allows customers to pause, rewind and record live TV meaning that customers now have tools at their disposal to never miss any part of their favourite shows.
“Later in 2010, Melita launched an app providing access to Facebook on TV. This created a completely new way of how our customers consume internet content, alongside the other Netbox function which enables customers to watch movies or listen to music on their TV screens directly from their PC. Then came OnDemand! in 2011. We registered numbers which speak for themselves. We’re steadily heading towards one million on-demand views since launch just 12 months ago. OnDemand! users are still on a growth path, watching more of the music, shows or movies we provide.”
Melita provides two different video on demand services. The free OnDemand! Service offers a library in excess of 1,000 titles at no cost to clients, while Movie Rentals provides access to the latest blockbuster movies at what Melita describes as “very reasonable rates”. The service works pretty much like a DVD rental service, but at the push of a button from the comfort of your home.
Melita works very closely with its platform provider, the On Demand! Group, to push new content every week. On Mondays, the library is refreshed with new content ranging from the latest music videos, new episodes from TV series or new movies.
“This summer, we were very active to secure new content. In fact, we are glad to announce two new studios, Disney and HBO along with the rest of the major studios already available on the OnDemand! Service,” added the spokesman. “Disney will ensure that our customers enjoy access to some of the biggest cinema blockbusters at the same time as DVDs are released. HBO will provide access to some of the hottest US TV series such as Hung, Big Love and the classic Sopranos.”
Melita now offers 17 HD channels and is also supporting the broadcast trials of TVM HD. The latter has proven to be particularly successful especially during events such as the Eurovision Song Contest and the London Olympics.
“We look forward to see TVM providing a full schedule in high definition. We are also in constant discussions with channel providers to increase our HD line up. This depends on their intentions to launch HD broadcasts, and their willingness to make them available to Malta,” the spokesman revealed.
Though HD TV and video on demand themselves are at the cutting edge of commercial TV technology, internet is also a major factor in the way viewers are enjoying video. Melita is aware of this convergence and has acted vigorously on it.
“We are fully aware that TV and internet are increasingly converging. We have opted to harness this trend and make it the cornerstone of our business development strategy.
“We believe that the demarcation line between these two services will continue to blur and customers will demand more broadband speed and better quality of internet and TV service.”
With this in mind, last year Melita also launched a new suite of Fibre Power broadband internet products with speeds reaching up to 100 megabits on a nationwide basis. The packages now start at 15 megabits per second.
The company quoted from the results by independent analysis sites such as www.netindex.com which show that Melita’s clients on average get download speeds almost three times higher than other local competitors and even higher than the European average. The company said that its investment in quality of service is paying off as customers report that in more than 97 per cent of instances they are getting the speeds they are paying for, compared to a European average of 85 per cent.
“Melita has great plans for broadband in Malta – we are keen to ensure that Malta achieves and exceeds the objectives set out by the EU commission in the Digital Agenda for Europe,” the spokesman concluded.