In January 2020 I traveled to Aruba to visit Nordija´s customer Setar and get an insight into the habits and trends in TV consumption and life in general on this sunny island.
After an 18-hour journey from Denmark, I'm landing on a small exotic island with a population of roughly 110.000 people. The island that is located only 29km north of Venezuela is Aruba, and it has more sunny days than any other island in the Caribbean.
I am full of expectations about what this country has to offer. Not only because it's only the 2nd country on my travel map in the CALA region (the Caribbean and Latin America), but it’s also a small island of only 190 km2.
Arrival at the local airport in the capital city of Aruba, Oranjestad, was unexpected and surprising for me. Why does EVERYONE speak dutch? And why does it feel like coming to Amsterdam just warmer? One of the reasons is probably that Aruba is one of four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is also known as the Dutch Caribbean.
Just 24 hours earlier, I was in rainy Denmark. Now I am on this beautiful Island with 30 degrees Celsius, crystal clear water in the middle of a paradise.
So, why am I here?
The main reason for my short (72 hour) stay at Aruba is not vacation neither a weekend get-away. I am here to visit a customer, the service provider SETAR, and to find out a little more about the culture of Arubans.
SETAR is Aruba’s biggest telco service provider, and it has been in operation for over 10 years. Besides offering advanced mobile services and high-speed internet, their offer also consists of Digital Cable TV and smart solutions for people and businesses. Customized services solutions to fit every need. SETAR envisions Aruba as the place to create connections with everything and everyone, everywhere. And that's one of the similarities that SETAR has with Nordija. We are, on the contrary, connecting content with users. Anywhere. Anytime and on any device.
"For us Arubans, beaches and outdoor activities are something that will always be there"
At SETAR I am meeting up with Andreina Kock, Marketing Manager for their TV products. Andreina's main responsibility at Setar is the TV part of the business and she is involved in delivering IPTV to the customers. I am meeting with Andreina in order to learn more about the company, their products and to get a cultural understanding of the customers’ behavior on this exotic island.
Andreina explains to me that SETAR is bundling its existing services (e.g. packages for Internet + cable TV) for their customer base of over 40.000 households on the island. In the last couple of months, the company has been challenged by its customers who are downgrading their TV packages and are switching to streaming services such as Netflix or HBO, which are booming currently in the region.
But the question that I am eager to ask is if people are even watching TV here? In other words, how is SETAR able to get people off these beautiful beaches and inside to watch TV? In my opinion, Aruba has so much to offer. Sandy beaches, turquoise sea, sunny weather all year around.
But Andreina laughs and explains: "You would think that, but you are a tourist. Tourists are mainly coming here for the beach, but for us, Arubans, beaches and outdoor activities are something that will always be there and never disappears. So we do watch TV a lot. Especially during the week, after work.’’
My second meeting at SETAR HQ is a group session with SETAR's employees from various departments. Besides Andreina Kock, I was joined by Clem - Junior Marketing Assistant, Albert - Customer Interfaces Coordinator, Ronica - Sector Manager Commercial Affairs, Lisa - IT Billing Support, and Reuben - Account Manager.
Meeting some of the first users of SETAR´s new IPTV platform, who were a part of the internal launch of the product in December 2019, gave me more insights and feedback on the product.
They are very positive about the new functions of the product, such as making a recording that you can watch anywhere and anytime or restart-function when watching a movie.
"And not to forget to mention that besides the new functions, I am excited to introduce to the community a new user interface that is very modern compared to our previous one,’’ adds Andreina.
The upgraded TV solution that Setar is building will provide the user with Nordija's content discovery features, Video-on-Demand shops including Movie VoD and HBO Series VoD store, HD TV, an advanced recording engine and network recording features such as Pause Live, nPVR, Start Over and Replay.
And as Raul Ponson, Sector Manager Technical Affairs at SETAR says, they are looking forward to bringing some of the newest technologies to the island.
Raul Ponson adds: ''We are committed to bringing the newest technologies, apps, products, and services for the island of Aruba. Therefore, we have decided to partner up with Nordija, to provide our customers with the most advanced platform on the market.''
But the launch of SETAR's new IPTV platform will not be the final step for the company. The product will receive several upgrades after launching with the end-users. That is also one of the reasons my colleague Jeppe Schäfer is at Aruba with me. Jeppe is a Systems engineer and Nordija and provides operational training to SETAR's team of technicians, to ensure smooth operation for years to come.
One last detour before heading home
The last couple of hours that I had left before flying back to Denmark, I spent sightseeing and trying to tick-off as many places as possible from my must-see places, which turned out to be truly impossible. Aruba has so much to offer that neither a week of vacation would be enough to see it all.
I am leaving this island with a great feeling and amazing memories. This Caribbean island more than lives up to the name. Perhaps, it's the weather, maybe it's the setting, but whatever makes the people living on Aruba this happy and good-spirited, I want to import it back home to Denmark.
Big thanks to the SETAR team. See you all out there.