TV Un-Festival: Zattoo

Mario Costa, Alexandra Illes

Zattoo is regular straightforward TV as per free to air channels, but played across broadband. Live TV, not time-shifted, but available on your laptop. 24/7. Mac, PC, Linux, free client, all you need is broadband.

Each time you log-on, you get a channel line up, in Switzerland redistributing 52 channels. Quality pretty good, 400kbps to receive, what’s different to most of the other players, but the Zattoo is just redistribution – no catch up, no chat, no video on demand, no frills redistribution of television channels and do that with the most widely possibly channel line up in every country. Reason for being is that a number of interactive players on the market and Zattoo is a platform is focused on only one thing. Don’t want to compete with broadcasters IPTV, as they have more rights to do things with their content, but to be a compilation of different channels as an aggregator.

It worked really well this morning when the network is not being used by so many people.

Unabridged retransmission, limited by legal requirements for broadcasters. Signal protection and geoblocking, another requirement from broadcasters, so operate with the licensing regime and go country by country, and not receive outside the territory of the area we have the licence for.

Idea is to bring linear TV to a new medium, and bring people back to linear TV. Bridge to the old-fashioned TV, and to allow people to do interactive things at the same time. 700k users in Europe, available in Swizterland where co. based, Denmark and Spain. Very successful in Spain, word=of-mouth and blogs at core of success. Beta test in the UK with a couple of channels whilst going through rights clearance, aiming to launch in Germany, Austria, Belgium, then Poland, Italy, France, Poland and the Netherlands.

People use Zattoo because they want to do things at the same time, or use PC in another room than the TV is in. Not a substitute for the TV set, but complementary to it.

Aged distribution, primarily the younger, 25 – 34 is main user group, but that’s shifting. Young, early adopters first, but shifted in Switzerland and have a quarter of the broadband market.

Q: How do you make money?

Advertisements within channels, buffering when switzing channels, and have inserted adverts there. Users don’t mind that. For advertisers, people have focus on the screen as they are waiting for the channel to come up. There are also paid packages, so have a lot of free TV, the public broadcasters and commercial stations, then special interest and ethnic packages. Learn from traditional TV environment, but open to more new things. Think that people online are more interested in special interest. Feel want to make a la carte packages, which can’t be done on traditional TV environment. Foreign language packages too.

Security is a big issue, specially for the broadcasters signal protection and double authentication process that ensures geoblocking works.

Q: What’s the point of that?

We agree with you, that’s what we want, but from a rights point of view we’ll probably not get there. It is not 100% watertight enough, but it’s watertight enough for the reasons we do it. But we can’t get the rights for you to just watch international TV without the right clearance.

Due to launch in the UK, but it’s a question of clearing the rights.

Q: How are you doing the geofiltering?

Don’t know the answer to this.

Q: It’s a p2p service, what’s the upload bandwidth.

400kbps download, and as much upload as your ISP allows.

Zattoo developed by a professor at Michigan in five mins.

Beta testing in UK since July, focused on retransmission. If you want text access, can send an international invitation that will give access to the Swiss line-up to see how it works.

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