Test card: Anton Kathrein

Broadcast Middle East delves below corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region's broadcast leaders tick
Anton Kathrein, CEO Kathrein-Werke
Anton Kathrein, CEO Kathrein-Werke

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What broadcast solutions are you offering TV operators?
We have an IPTV system offering channels that are already broadcast via satellite, we integrate it into our systems through an IP stream and send it to customers via the small set top box. Any kind of signal, either terrestrial or satellite, can be converted into our IP stream.

In terms of IPTV, how fast is that side of your business developing?
There is huge demand here in the Middle East for IPTV in particular, but also in general people are looking for more capacity, more data, and it can only continue to grow at an ever faster rate when you look at all the new housing developments and compounds that are being announced here almost every day.

This is especially the case with the EXPO 2020 coming up, not only private but also public facilities are beginning to realise the value of IPTV, from stadiums and shopping malls to outdoor digital signage advertising displays.

How large are your operations in the Middle East?
Currently we have an office in Dubai, but we work primarily with partners in the region. They have the market and cultural understandingwe need when doing business in a diverse region like the Middle East.

Is IPTV a major growth area for you?
It’s difficult to say what market share we have in terms of broadband. We’re very strong on the communications side, so IPTV is a recent development for us, but itis a major growth area for us in the Middle East, not so much in Africa.Over there, normal home satellite is the norm.

You mentioned that you work with du and Etisalat, what are the major challenges pay TV operators are facing?
The largest challenge we’re facing is capacity. If you look at the average value per customer, it’s stayed relatively flat over the years, but the amount of data being consumed has skyrocketed.

So operators are having to upgrade their network so that they can provide the latest technologies like 4G to increase speed without significantly increasing their charges. Another challenge that we’re trying to overcome is the issue of constant connectivity.

People want to be able to have seamless connectivity on their smartphone or tablet. In the old days we would just blast in through the buildings, but this was insufficient because there were quality issues. So we’ve launched the K-BOW system which is an indoor capacity distribution system. This is important in terms of OTT video consumption by mobile.

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