Rodrigo Baudrand, Home Services Manager at Wom, was interviewed by Nextv News Latin America and gave details on Wom TV’s soft launch of, the company’s new TV offering, already available in the Chilean Metropolitan Region, and with plans to expand it to the rest of the country before the end of the year. In addition, the executive informed that, soon, a more extended channel package will be offered and Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max will be available as add-on products.
What has been the initial feedback from Wom customers to the Wom TV offering? What issues have motivated Wom to launch a TV offer?
We have started from our mobile telephony offer, and what we want to do is democratize access to all digital technologies. We decided to continue with the deployment of FTTH as our first raid into homes, and after a successful raid into FTTH, the next step should come, which is a TV offering, something required and needed by our clients. Once we enter our client’s households, we offer them the possibility of hiring a TV service, through a different offer. What we want is to give the power to clients for them to choose what they want to watch and, this way, we deliver a much more flexible offer, smaller in the basic plan in relation to the rest of our competitors, but that considers the channels that are watched in general, and all the configurations that the client can choose voluntarily.
In which Chilean regions is Wom TV now available? What is the plan to continue deploying the offer?
We have implemented the launch of Wom TV in stages. The first of these was a small trial, where we tested the stability of the service, the different channels, the capacity we had for the offer, and a whole series of elements that gave us the basis for the second step, which was a soft launch we did in the Metropolitan Region, where we have 10 Wom stores and it is the main area where we have FTTH deployed. We are working on the current FTTH client base, but any Wom client (not necessarily FTTH clients) that has any type of internet connectivity can access Wom TV throughout Chile. The offer is currently not available in all our branches in the country, but someone who acquires the Wom TV equipment in Santiago de Chile can access the offer in any region of the country. We are in a soft launch stage, where we have this controlled offer in terms of size available. We are waiting for some things to happen, such as the addition of applications from some more providers, in order to complete the offer and make technical improvements so that the platform works as correctly as possible. With that, we will get ready for the mass launch, in a couple of months.
When will the Wom TV expansion throughout Chile take place?
We are working on details to improve the offer. Before the end of the year, we are going to launch the Wom TV offering nationwide.
How was the decision made to build Wom TV’s ‘pack inicial’? Are there intentions to expand the offer?
The idea of this ‘pack inicial’ is to give a first view to the world of TV, much simpler than what works today in the industry, both pay TV and OTT, which, in general, are more complex, because they have a lot of channels and other features. We are charging CLP 5,900 (USD 8), which allows very easy access to the channel’s catalog, which may be limited in some way , but, basically, it has news, children’s content and sports content, which are the best contents in terms of rating. We want to complement it, giving clients the power so that they can configure their way of watching TV as they want to do so, including premium options like TNT Sports; Olympic Sports Channel (CDO), which includes sports other than football; HBO’s linear channels, which are already available, and, when HBO Max is launched in Chile, we also want to have it available as a platform; and others. Our aim is that customers can choose and build their offer themselves. We also want to have international channels available as an add-on offer, outside the basic plan, for more accessible values. In addition, we plan to grow beyond the ‘pack inicial’ to an extended pack, which we will develop later.
Apart from the premium offer already available, what other content will Wom TV add to its offer in the future?
We already have the HBO linear channels available and we are migrating to HBO Max. In addition, although our Wom TV Box, based on Android TV, it is possible to access to Disney+ as a particular app, but we cannot charge the subscription on the Wom invoice. We are in negotiations with Disney to add ESPN and other channels of the group, and with other channels with which we are working to expand the offer of add-on content. We are also working to add Amazon Prime Video as an add-on platform.
Do you plan to make the Wom TV offer available to non-Wom customers?
Wom TV is available to any type of customer. The only requirement is to have an internet connection from any ISP. The offer is not restricted to Wom customers only. It can be accessed through the Wom TV Box, as well as from the mobile app, available on iOS and Android, and through its official web version.
According to the latest Subtel reports, Chile ended 2020 with a growth in its pay TV customer base. What are the main challenges to keep the customer motivated, and, this way, allow the trend to continue rising?
Our offer tries to be different. We do not want to force customers to linear channel consumption. We give clients the possibility for them to choose what they want to watch. We give access to different platforms so that clients can choose what they want to watch and what they want to access from Wom TV Box, with the opportunity to deliver linear content, and, in addition, access to these options. Our purpose is to change the TV industry, as we have done in the mobile market and in FTTH. The TV industry is much tougher, because content providers are very tough in their negotiations. We want to make it understood that the business must change and focus on the customer. The customer is the one who should be able to choose. We cannot force them to have a lot of channels, when they really want to watch only one. These things will not happen overnight, but we have already made changes in different industries, and we hope to make changes in the TV industry as well. Currently, the traditional ‘zapping’ is no longer implemented. Customers directly choose the content that they want to watch. That is one of the advantages that we also have on our platform. In addition, clients can watch other content broadcast in a period of up to seven days back in linearity. They are benefits that also enable clients to watch what they want to watch, when they want to do so.
How is Wom moving forward with the ‘Fibra Optica Nacional’ project?
Wom was awarded five of the six macrozones tendered by Subtel for the project, which includes 10 Chilean regions. The sixth macrozone was awarded to another supplier (Movistar Empresas). The ‘Fibra Óptica Nacional’ (FON) project is a separate project from our FTTH project, which is the one that brings fiber to the home. FON, on the other hand, takes the fiber to remote places, or to macro areas where there is a lack of connectivity. This lack of connectivity does not reach households directly, but rather reaches that location. The potential that FON gives is that, in addition to Wom’s FTTH, once we can reach that location with FON connectivity, we can take that FON connectivity and bring it to homes through FTTH. Both technologies are complementary. FON will allow Wom and all telecommunications operators to reach these locations. We will reach these remote areas with connectivity and, as a result, we will be able to make our Wom TV offer available in these areas. As we grow in FTTH deployment, we will always launch our TV offering. In those areas where we do not have FTTH deployment, we will have our Wom TV offer available nationwide.
What can Wom analyze on the Covid-19 impact in this industry?
In our case, the pandemic has helped us in many ways. We have been working on our FTTH rollout for about a year and a half now. We launched FTTH between the social outbreak that took place in Chile and the start of the pandemic, which was the moment when everyone took refuge in their homes and realized the shortcomings that previous telecommunications providers had. Although we cannot reach everyone yet, we are growing in terms of deployment, but we were able to fulfill the promise of transferring the achievements we had in the mobile industry to FTTH, to offer a good service at a fair price. That is the same thing we want to repeat on TV. We want to offer it the way audiences want it: easy, very clear, without restrictions, without additional charges, and where it is possible to access the content that clients want to watch.