Matthias Kurth, Executive Chairman of trade body Cable Europe, has suggested that the cable industry is well positioned to play a role in the delivery of OTT services and would continue to work to make the connected TV an important part of the cable experience.
Speaking to the Cable Congress blog in the run-up to the event March 5-7 in London, Kurth said the cable industry’s top priority was not to keep up, but to keep ahead of what consumers want. “How do we do that? By having the best infrastructure that delivers the best content out there. Consumers don’t really care about what the infrastructure is until it doesn’t work. But they do care more and more about moving their premium content around devices seamlessly and with the sort of high speed cable customers have grown to expect,” he noted.
“We expect to continue upgrading speeds so that consumers have the best quality of service out there. Cable Europe’s members are offering 100Mbps across Europe but speed for speed’s sake isn’t interesting. What is interesting is the high quality experience consumers can have with our continually upgraded networks. We are proud of the contribution we make to Europe’s high quality infrastructure. And it keeps customers coming back for more which, of course, makes everyone happy” he said.
In terms of the threat of OTT, Kurth quoted Tomas Franzen of Cable Europe member Sweden’s Com Hem, who said: “It’s not a threat, it’s a reality.” According to Kurth, he is right. “It shows that the market is always changing and our job is to keep up…and keep ahead of the consumer. One of the big trends for cable is the advent of multi-screen offerings which we’ll hear much more about for sure whether it be Liberty’s Horizon product or Virgin Media’s TiVo product. If you take care of your customers and provide them with great content over a great service, you are focusing on the right things.”
He suggested that Cable Europe member operator CEOs kept an eye on OTT, but more importantly, collectively had their eye on the core business of getting content to customers just the way they want it. “That’s partly why cable is well positioned in this space. And the other reason is that we are a trusted platform for premium content which is a strong foundation for our many relationships with the many content providers with whom we work,” he asserted.
In terms of connected TV, Kurth said “TV is in our DNA. We are in the European living room. And there are more and more devices in the living room, being used next to the TV which itself is becoming increasingly connected.” Noting research from Rovi that revealed that connection rates for connected TVs were higher in Western Europe than in the United States, he suggested it was important to remember that having the connection is different than using the connection. “And we’ll continue to work to make the connected TV an important part of the cable experience,” he confirmed.