iWorld

"We are targeting the 1.5 m Indians in mainland Europe" - bubbles Media CEO Arnold C. Kulbatzki

Launched in August 2016, the satellite-to-OTT platform TV services of bobbles.tv is aimed at expats of Asian, Latin American and African origins based in Europe. Supported by MX1, Bobbles can also be enjoyed via OTT for online viewing, via connected TV or mobile devices. bobbles.tv is a product of Hamburg-based privately held bubbles Media GmbH, a new pay TV provider specialising in TV offerings for international target groups.

With diverse experience in the media and telecom sectors spread over 20 years, Arnold C. Kulbatzki is the founding partner and CEO of bubbles Media GmbH. Prior to establishing bubbles media GmbH in January 2016, he was the CEO of a2b media (2004-2015), a management consulting firm with extensive expertise in customer experience management, digital transformation, paid content and OTT audio-video services. In an interaction with Indiantelevision.com, Kulbatzki spells out his company’s plans and explains why the services offered are unique. Excerpts from the interview:

Can you please tell us about Bobbles TV?

Bobbles delivers multiple packages of TV channels from around the globe. We aim to reach the 15 million people originating from Asia, Latin America and Africa, but currently living and working in Europe. The service can be received throughout Europe via satellite and online. Bobbles went live in August 2016 initially with programming offers for Chinese, Indonesian, Indian and Korean communities. Our most recent launch was our new package of India’s best and most popular TV channels.

Why did you  launch a service for expats in Europe?

I’ve travelled a lot during my career and I’m familiar with the feeling of being abroad, but wanting to know what’s going on at home. Moreover, my personal circle of friends includes many expats who’ve chosen to relocate to Europe. They’ve come from India, Korea, China and elsewhere. One thing they have in common is their desire to retain links with home, even to watch their favourite TV channels from their native countries.

My Bobbles media partners and I imagined there must be a way to create a business built around delivering multiple packages of programming to the many people from all around the world who have chosen to call Europe home. When our research revealed there are over 15 million people originally from Asia, Latin America and Africa but living in Europe, we knew that these volumes meant such a service would truly delight a huge number of people. We also knew we had a great business opportunity.

Can you please tell us about your new Indian package?

We launched our bobbles.tv India package in early 2017 with 15 channels of entertainment in Hindi and English, including Bollywood blockbuster-packed B4U Movies, B4U Music, StarGOLD, Sony MAX and ZOOM. Viewers can also watch India’s most popular news services like NDTV 24x7, Times Now and Aaj Tak. Viacom18’s Colors, StarPlus, NDTV Good Times, NDTV Spice, Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Sony SAB, Life OK and  Rishtey Europe show general entertainment, comedy, drama, lifestyle, reality TV and made-for-TV movies.

With 13 channels, Bobbles is Europe’s largest and lowest-priced satellite TV package. It‘s avaialble via ASTRA satellite for pan-European viewing. Additionally, 14 popular channels in Hindi and English can be received via OTT, available live and via seven-day catch-up with more channels on the way. No other broadcaster awywhere offers DTH and OTT services this way. Also, for many of our broadcaster patners, this is their first foray in Europe. So we know we are offering something truly unique to viewers.

What's the pricing for the packages?

Subscribing is easy and affordable – this really sets us apart from competitors. It’s simply a flat monthly fee of €23.95 (1 USD= 0.90 Euro) on satellite and €12.95 online. What’s more, our viewers do not need a contract. With a potential audience of 1.5 million Indian expats living in mainland Europe, we are excited to deliver this pioneering and low-priced new service to this community.

How many subscribers are you aiming to attract in year one?

We haven’t set any specific subscriber or revenue targets. This is because we are launching the package of services in a roadmap of well-planned launches. It will take a certain amount of time. Only after a critical mass is reached for active and live services, we will be able to assess the overall figures for the business. Additionally, we don‘t critically need to set year-one targets, thanks to our operational efficiency and, in particular, the efficiency of our satellite-and-OTT distribution strategy.

Are you well-funded? Who's investing in the venture?

We are privately-funded.

What is your revenue model? Will it be purely subscription-based or are you also looking at advertising revenue?

In addition to subscription revenue from consumers, there are additional monetisation opportunities going forward, including video-on-demand and B2B offerings for businesses for the worldwide hospitality sector, for example. As soon as our subscriber base reaches a critical mass, we can offer a great and a unique business opportunity for advertisers.

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