Turn on, tune in and drop out – Magine, a Swedish cloud-based cable TV service dubbed the ‘Spotify of television’, is coming to Germany after closing a $19 million (€14.6m) Series A. The platform is starting its much-awaited international expansion having secured the funding from a group of unnamed investors from both Sweden and further afield.
Describing itself as like Aereo without the hardware, Magine provides TV live, time-shifted and recorded across connected devices without the need for a set top box or cables. Most importantly, the startup has the backing of the content providers aka the TV companies. It is currently an invitation-only service limited to Sweden – but that is set to change, with an upcoming launch in Germany (beta testing here started in June).
The team behind Magine say it provides a simple and intuitive way of watching television on any device – whether it be television, computer, smartphone or tablet. Handheld devices have the further ability to act as a remote for your television or browser.
In addition, they hope to allow users to break down the idea of a program being tied to a fixed time slot by making shows from the previous seven to 30 days, depending on the channel, available at any time. All you need is an Internet connection.
Magine is also set to join the growing list of second screen platforms by adding a social layer, and co-founder and company chairman Michael Werner said: “Magine is not just another TV platform, but a totally new way of accessing and consuming content. It is a subscription service that was devised to make viewers come back to watching TV and this is why broadcasters and content providers are very keen to adopt the service. Magine helps them create new forms of monetizing whilst respecting the current rights chain.”
This ability to secure the co-operation of broadcasters has been key, with Magine currently able to name channels such as Discovery, CNN International, BBC, Eurosport, National Geographic, Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network among its offerings in Sweden, alongside national broadcasters SVT and TV4. The company says that list is likely to grow soon.
Next up, though, is the forthcoming launch in Germany and Spain.
So what’s in it for the broadcasters? Magine allows them to reach a higher number of viewers, while still offering revenue through user subscriptions. Led by CEO Mattias Hjelmstedt, the cmpany offers individualised subscriptions which vary depending on what you have been watching, and there is also a ‘free tier’ of public service channels.
As always, it’s good to see an innovative approach to entertainment to bring the traditional media companies kicking and screaming into the digital world. If Magine is able to repeat the success it has shown in Sweden, it could potentially be a serious alternative to the likes of Hulu and Netflix.