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NuVu, an Ericsson entity, is the first online streaming platform that provides 'off-peak' video downloading for operators in emerging markets where streaming is slow and expensive. It's the first time Ericsson has licensed content, says Stephan Riome, Ericsson's Global Head of Programming Acquisitions & Marketing Broadcast and Media Services, to provide a video subscription on demand service for operators to compete against the likes of Netflix.

Ericsson announced the launch of its first end-to-end subscription video-on-demand content service, NuVu, at the end of 2015. Ericsson co-brands the NuVu service with its partner operators in emerging markets that want to provide the service, for example: 'NuVu by (the operator)'. Ericsson works with the operator and their networks to provide a customer experience that is matched and relevant to their respective market.

For example, Airtell provides NuVu for its customers in Nigeria. Nigeria has legacy networks such as 2G and 3G, and they are moving into 4G. To offer a video subscription on demand service as an operator would be very challenging in Nigeria, says Stephan, because the networks aren't developed enough for the capability to stream online, and data costs are very high.

"What we do is work with the operators to license relevant content, such as Nollywood movies (Nigerian films), second-pay output agreements with Hollywood studios like Foxx and DreamWorks, CBS, MGM, etc, and the latest pay TV series from international and locally relevant suppliers," Stephan told Telecom Review.

Once the platform is downloaded, the user can add showcased content from the site to their list of selected content to temporarily download it. The download exists for thirty days; however, users have the choice to stream if they wish. It provides the choice for those with a poor internet connection to enjoy the services that platforms like Netflix provide.

The benefit of NuVu is that it provides "off peak" temporary downloads, which means the download occurs when there is less internet traffic, typically during the night. The customer ends up with an "all you can eat" type of experience with their content. The benefit to the customer is that they're getting a very low cost subscription service with no "data bill shock" at the end of the month.

"The service is cheaper on the basis that we're working in the African market on an 'off-peak' download basis. You're selecting content to be downloaded overnight," Stephan explained. "We rely on operators who know their network to provide us with the off-peak hours. That way, the off-peak hours really depend on the operator that's hosting NuVu."

Ericsson can provide additional options to the operators to give their users the choice of waiting for the content to download during off-peak hours or the option to download the content immediately, as well as the option to stream. The service can be "as advanced or as basic as the operator and the market requires," said Stephan. It's a "mass market proposition."

There will be customers that want instant gratification, and for that reason, Ericsson typically launches NuVu with the 'download now' and 'download later' options combined. But based on customer experience, once the customer has paid for the data to 'download now' they only tend to do it once, according to Stephan.

Ericsson is working with operators to tap into mass scale streaming within emerging markets through NuVu. The operator gets a premium video subscription service to offer their customers that is branded with their name which is something that Netflix wouldn't offer.

The biggest challenge that Ericsson faces with NuVu is piracy. But Stephan believes customers want a solution that is commercially viable, offering choice, convenience and control. People want to be able to "grab and consume content and be in control of what they watch," he said. In fact, over 50 percent of consumers binge-watch content at least once a day, according to Ericsson Consumer Lab research, and only 5 percent claim that they never binge watch content.

The NuVu brand identity was created by the award-wining creative agency Red Bee, which is part of Ericsson. It's a perfect solution for emerging market mobile operators that haven't launched video yet allowing them to jump into the market potentially many years before they could have otherwise.

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