As the Eurozone is officially pronounced as technically in recession again, new year-end numbers released by Cable Europe confirm that the upward trajectory set by Europe’s cable operators in recent years was maintained in 2011, with the industry reporting faster overall growth than in 2010.
The figures point to the cable industry’s continued success in converting its customers to digital services as well as attracting new customers through its television, Internet and telephony ‘triple play’ services. These triple play services helped the industry to record revenue of €19.9 billion, a 7 per cent increase on the previous year, largely as a result of double-digit growth in the Internet and telephony segments. By comparison, revenues grew by 6 per cent in 2010 and 3 per cent in 2009.
Speaking at Cable Congress in Brussels, Manuel Kohnstamm, President, Cable Europe, said: “When we say Europe’s cable industry is up in lights, we mean it. These growth figures prove that investments in next generation services are really bearing fruit and that cable operators are more than holding their own against other platforms even in today’s highly competitive, highly dynamic markets.”
Meanwhile, Europe’s ongoing switch away from analogue services helped the total number of digital cable TV homes served by cable operators increase by 13 per cent. Growth in digital TV is regarded as strategic for the industry due to the potential for lucrative add-on revenues in the future as TV viewing becomes more interactive.
“Europe’s cable industry can be proud of its achievements in 2011 and for the way in which it has managed to maintain its leadership position as Europe moves towards a digital, ubiquitous future. Accelerated growth, even in the current economic climate, shows not only that we are managing to harvest our investments in next generation products and services. It also means we are more than ever meeting consumer demand,” said Caroline van Weede, managing director, Cable Europe.
Speaking at the opening session and noting Neelie Kroes, Vice President, European Commission will speak in the last session, Kohnstamm said cost related regulation of telcos and cable was wrong and harked back to the 90s. “There are many ways for consumers to access broadband, we cannot be compared to other monopolistic utilities. Regulation holds back innovation and investment in infrastructure,” he said.