Why Vodafone Is Betting on Cloud Video

While Liberty Global has hogged much of the spotlight with its next-gen Horizon video platform, another major European cable and broadband provider is much more quietly rolling out an ambitious cloud-based video offering throughout the continent, as well as elsewhere around the world.

Over the past year, Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has introduced its new cloud-based TV service in at least nine markets -- Australia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. Known simply as Vodafone TV, the OTT video streaming product is a multi-platform pay-TV offering that relies on both Vodafone's fiber connections and 4G wireless network. Leveraging a lightweight set-top box client, the Android TV-based service offers access to cloud DVR, popular local terrestrial channels, and on-demand content and online services like NOW TV (from Sky Italia), Netflix and CHILI, an OTT pay-per-view movie service.

Vodafone -- which is poised to become Europe's second-largest cable and broadband provider once its pending purchases of Liberty Global's cable systems in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania are approved by regulators -– is clearly seeking to make waves with its new streaming service. It's working with such vendors as Kaltura and Nagra to turn Vodafone TV into a global streaming video powerhouse. (See Liberty Stages European Retreat.)

But, unlike their boasting counterparts at Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), Vodafone executives have breathed hardly a word about the new service publicly. In their latest earnings report, for instance, there's barely a mention of Vodafone TV. And there are no press releases about the service on the company's web site. (See Liberty Global Packs 4K, Cloud DVR, Voice Into 'Horizon 4'.)

Now that's all about to change. At Light Reading's upcoming Cable Next-Gen Europe conference in London on Nov. 6, Nuno Sanches, Vodafone's Group Head of Fixed Development, will publicly lay out the company's new video streaming strategy. One of several prime keynote speakers at the conference, Sanches will discuss what Vodafone is trying to do with the service and where it intends to go with it.

Of course, Vodafone's streaming video ambitions will be far from the only timely topic of discussion at our inaugural Cable Next-Gen Europe conference, which is free for all attendees. Based on our popular Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference in Denver each March, Cable Next-Gen Europe will offer a comprehensive look at cable's efforts to develop, deploy and monetize new technologies, platforms, products, services, features and applications. Leading European and US cable technologists will examine the industry’s latest tech moves, spell out their strategies, dissect the hurdles they face and debate how to overcome them.

More specifically, technologists will tackle such timely topics as DOCSIS 3.1, gigabit services, Full Duplex DOCSIS, 5G, Distributed Access Architecture, Fiber Deep, FTTH, network virtualization, new video platforms and others. Both Cable Europe and SCTE Europe are serving as program partners for the event and will supply moderators and speakers.

Besides Sanches, Jeff Finkelstein, executive director of advanced technologies at Cox Communications Inc. ; Chris Aspell, director of strategy roadmap and innovation for Liberty Global; Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre ; Kjeld Balmer, head of network technology at Stofa; Anders Bloom, senior systems manager of broadband at Com Hem AB ; and Ade Brittain, senior manager, access network innovation at Liberty Global; head up the speaking line-up.

Other prime speakers include: Mark Burns, HFC architect at Liberty Global; Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst at Heavy Reading ; Uffe Callesen, Lead Architect at Stofa; Frode Elverum, head of broadband at Get ; Tony Gunnarsson, principal analyst at Ovum; Steve Heeb, president and general manager at RDK Management LLC ; Jeff Heynen, research director, technology, at S&P Global Market Intelligence; Jean-Luc Moisson, deputy convergence director at Orange (NYSE: FTE); and Paolo Pescatore, SVP of Consumer Services at MiDIA Research. And more speakers are still coming.

Home in on the opportunities and challenges facing European cable operators. Join Light Reading for the Cable Next-Gen Europe event in London on November 6. All attendees get in free!

The free, one-day conference will take place Tuesday, November 6 at London's Radisson Blu Portman Hotel. So, please join us for Cable Next-Gen Europe as we tackle Vodafone TV and the other most pressing tech topics in the industry today.

Hope to see you all there.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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