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Will these guys change TV?

Meet Magine, a Swedish company offering live TV without cables. Photo by Christopher Hunt

Will these guys change TV?

What’s the big idea?
TV you can watch, whenever, wherever, on whatever. It’s basically a replacement for cable TV. Or, as Swedish company Magine puts it, “TV. Reinvented.”

Sounds exciting. How’s it different?
For a start, you can see live television, making it different from Netflix or Apple TV. They have agreements with more than 100 broadcasters, including the likes of BBC, CNN and Fox. As well as watching channels live (you can choose which channels you subscribe to), you can also rewatch shows you’ve missed. You can do it on any Apple product or a Samsung Smart TV, and they say that more platforms are on the way.

Sweet. Can I sign up now?
You can if you’re in Sweden. There are currently 30 channels available, costing SEK99 (NOK90) a month. They’ve now expanded to Germany and Spain, with more countries planned to launch soon.

So what’s their story?
Magine was co-founded three years ago by Michael Werner, Mattias Hjelmstedt, Erik Wikstrom, Xavier Ritort and Hakan Tranvik. Product head Hjelmstedt, formerly of video-on-demand company Voddler, is the main man behind its design. The team has grown to 70 people on the back of some serious investment, most recently US$19 million (NOK112 million) in July.

What are they saying?
According to Ola Steinsrud, VP of New Markets and Content: “We’re offering live TV and doing it by the book. We’ve got agreements with all major US studios as well as European broadcasters and content rights holders. Cable operators see it as a threat, but we think this is the future and should ultimately benefit everyone.”

Including viewers, right?
“Yes. It’s cheaper than cable, you don’t need any equipment, and you’re more in control – you can choose your channels, when and how you want to watch. If you miss House or CSI Miami, it doesn’t matter – you’ve got 30 days to watch it, when it’s stored in the Cloud. And you can seamlessly switch between live TV and recorded content. You’ve got the freedom to choose.”

So is it going well, then?

They’re not releasing figures, but Steinsrud says they’re 25 per cent above budget and meeting viewing targets after a six-month testing phase when they took into account the views of more than 10,000 viewers.

Spotify for TV, perhaps?
“In the long-term, the music industry saw that Spotify was ultimately good for it,” says Steinsrud. “We want that with television, and we think this is the way distribution is going. We want to have that kind of impact on the whole industry.”



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