Tech Talk: Israel’s television options

New television service, less comprehensive yet significantly cheaper than traditional cable packages, sets new trend in industry.

THE WINNERS of the 2014 Geek Awards for Israel’s best startups pose for a group picture at last week’s ceremony in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: Courtesy)
THE WINNERS of the 2014 Geek Awards for Israel’s best startups pose for a group picture at last week’s ceremony in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The launching of Cellcom’s new television service signals a new trend in the Israeli television industry. In the past, companies were interested in attaining the highest quality product, and the focus was not on prices; sales agents were instructed to offer additional options and services to customers, which increased monthly rates considerably. But now, things are changing.
Although the Cellcom TV package is not as comprehensive as the HOT and YES packages, it does fulfill the needs of a certain market segment that is interested in receiving basic TV channels and VOD at much lower prices than is currently available. In the current Israeli market, a number of industries are coming out with discounted brands at fixed prices, such as Cofix, where every item on the menu costs NIS 5.
This is happening in the US TV industry, too. Many people are canceling their traditional TV and cable services and instead are now watching shows and movies on their computers or smart TVs using services like Hulu, Netflix and Sling television, which provide quality packages for as little as $7 per month.
Cellcom’s new service does require customers to be more knowledgeable about technology and is less convenient to use, especially since some of the functions do not have menus in Hebrew.
Hola is an Israeli crowd-sourcing startup that allows users outside the US to feed off of each other’s computing resources when they’re not using them, thereby making Internet streaming of shows lightning fast. Certain shows from overseas are restricted to viewers inside the US, and Hola provides users with an American IP address so that they can access them conveniently and immediately.
Cellcom TV is having the same effect on HOT and YES as Golan Telecom had on other Israeli mobile-service providers a number of years ago, which resulted in improved service and reduced prices. Rami Levy is expected to join the competition in the coming months. HOT and YES are apparently wooing customers to sign up for more affordable packages in an effort to soften the blow from the predicted competition from Cellcom TV. But the cheapest packages they’re offering start at NIS 120 and don’t include any VOD options.
Last week, during the 2014 Geek Awards ceremony in Tel Aviv, the best Israeli startups were chosen.
More than 50,000 readers of Geektime’s Hebrew site voted on the best startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in Israel, and a panel of 21 judges from the industry picked the winners. Here is a short list of the winners: Best Israeli startup for 2014: Moovit, formerly known as TranzMate, was founded in 2012 by Nir Erez, Yaron Evron and Roy Bick. The app locates users and helps them navigate public transportation systems and lets them know when to expect the next train or bus.
Best Israeli accelerator for 2014: Microsoft Ventures Accelerator is a program for startups in their early funding stages, with a focus on companies developing software-based solutions. During the four-month program, companies work out of Microsoft Israel’s offices in Herzliya, where they have access to a variety of Microsoft products and services.
Best Israeli enterprise startup for 2014: CyberArk provides security solutions for organizations. Its flagship product is privileged identity management, which identifies threats from outside the organizations, as well as possible threats from employees within the organization.
Best Israeli Internet startup for 2014: Outbrain expanded tremendously over the last few years and has developed a content discovery platform that uses an algorithm to figure out what users are searching for by looking at their browsing history and habits, demographics and personal information.
Best Israeli FinTech startup for 2014: FeeX calls itself the “Robin Hood of fees” since it offers consumers a comparison service that helps reduce fees and commissions paid to financial institutions. FeeX offers a tutorial that teaches users how to negotiate with institutions to get a reduction in fees.
Best Israeli data-security startup for 2014: Forter offers a fraud-prevention platform that allows e-commerce sites to identify whether users are legitimate by using a security mechanism to identify in seconds whether a transaction can be confirmed. The company’s technology can differentiate between users with profiles that only appear to be problematic (due to location or online background, for example) and users intending to carry out Internet fraud.
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Translated by Hannah Hochner.