Kabel Deutschland Starts Video-on-Demand

German giant’s move to VOD could be a watershed in Europe’s largest TV market.


COLOGNE, Germany – In what could prove a watershed moment for video-on-demand in Europe’s largest TV market, Germany’s number one cable operator, Kabel Deutschland (KDG), has unveiled its long-anticipated VOD service.

KDG has loaded up its VOD platform, called Select Video, with 2,500 hours of programming, including pay-per-view offerings from Hollywood studios including Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures as well as local mini-major Constantin Film.

Current blockbusters will cost between $5 - $7 (€4 - €5) for a 48 hour unlimited use rental, steeper than similar services in the U.S. But KDG will offer individual TV episodes at a more competitive $1.4 (€0.99) each and will make much of its VOD library free of change to its cable customers.

KDG’s 2.3 million customers in the urban centers of Berlin, Munich and Hamburg will be the first to receive Select Video, with the company promising to roll out the service to the majority of its nearly 9 million customers over the next two years.

The VOD market in Germany has lagged behind much of western Europe but it is quickly picking up pace. In December, KDG competitor Kabel BW launched its own VOD service.

John Malone’s Liberty Global this week signed a $4.5 billion deal to buy Kabel BW and most analysts expect VOD to be a main focus of Malone’s expansion plans.