Cellcom set to offer television over the Internet

Cellcom set to offer television over the Internet

Israeli mobile operator jumps into the over-the-top content market, and others look poised to follow

Debra writes for the JTA, and is a former features writer for The Times of Israel.

TV by phone (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
TV by phone (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The television market in Israel is about to get a bit more crowded.

Cellcom, the nation’s largest mobile provider, is jumping into the small-screen game with a new offer of web-based television services.

It’s a carefully calculated move on behalf of Cellcom, which like Israel’s other big mobile companies, Pelephone and Partner Communications (Orange), has seen revenues skid with the introduction of several low-cost carriers to the market.

Television that is provided over the Internet is one of the most prominent examples of what industry insiders call Over-the-top content, meaning video or audio that is made available to the customer without a middleman handling the operation. Over-the-top content has gained visibility over the past few television seasons with the entry of Netflix hits like “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards” into the mainstream television marketplace.

Cellcom’s announcement shows a concerted bid to corner a bit of this new industry. Cellcom’s Chief Executive Nir Sztern said this week that the company’s OTT TV services will shake up the market and offer new variety to Israeli consumers, who currently have only two options – YES and HOT – through which to watch multichannel television.

Partner Communications, the parent company of mobile operator Orange, is said to also have a television viewing program in the works.

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