Telenet launches set-top boxless youth-focused TV offering

Liberty Global-backed Belgian cable operator Telenet is launching its first TV offering that does not require a set-top box. The operator has launched a new bundle, branded as YUGO and targeted at smartphone users exclusively, with users able to cast content to the TV screen via Google Chromecast or Apple TV.

The YUGO package comes with unlimited fixed internet and a 20GB mobile data allowance to be distributed across one or two SIM cards.

The YUGO app provides a mix of local and international content including 20 standard channels and seven-day catch-up TV, the option to record and on-demand content. The channel line-up comprises Eén, Canvas, Ketnet, VTM, Vitaya, Q2, Caz, VTM Kids Jr, VTM Kids, Vier, Vijf, ZES, Discovery Vlaanderen, MTV, Comedy Central , Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Viceland, Fox and National Geographic.

The content line-up includes on-demand series from HBO and local and international channels.

The YUGO bundle includes 150 call minutes for each SIM. Use of WhatsApp and Messenger are not included in the data allowance.

Telenet is launching a WiFi quality scanning feature and an Ask YUGObot smart Messenger chatbot to accompany the app, which will be available from February 19 for €100 a month. Telenet is providing Chromecast streaming sticks to accompany YUGO for €5.

Separately, Telenet posted full year numbers that revealed a decline in basic video customers of 18% to 201,000, with overall video numbers down by 4% to 1.934 million. Broadband subscribers were down 1% to 1.658 million. Fixed-line phone numbers were also down, but mobile phone numbers rose marginally, driven by post-paid numbers rising 4%. Triple-play customers declined by 3% to 1.146 million.

On the positive side, Telenet said that its quad-play WIGO bundles were growing, with 21,900 net additions in Q4, while modest mobile post-paid growth reflected the removal of 11,000 inactive subscribers.

Telenet said its operational numbers had been hit by churn in the Brussels area SFR footprint it acquired recently.

Revenue was down 1% to €2.535 billion, but adjusted EBITDA was up 9% at €1.324 billion.