Cable pledges European broadband commitment
Cable Europe says the concept of infrastructure competition in next generation cable access has ensured greater choice, diversity and competition in pricing. The trade body has repeated to European Commissioner Neelie Kroes that as an investor in future network infrastructure the cable industry is a “signed-up agent” of the Digital Agenda. The comments follow the release by the Commission of Broadband coverage in Europe in 2011, which sets out the progress made in meeting the objectives of the Digital Agenda.
A recent report prepared for Cable Europe by the consultancy Solon says that 95% of households in the reach of European cable networks will be able to subscribe to high-speed internet services from cable in 2020. By the end of 2013 nearly all cable operators will have upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0, enabling 100-200 Mbps speeds.#
Following the rollout of DOCSIS 3.0, 100 Mbps speeds are already becoming the standard and cable is projected to offer 51% of EU households 100Mbps or more by 2013.
Source: Broadband TV News
LGI report shows multi-billion benefit of data sharing in jeopardy
The commercial use of personal data is potentially of huge economic value, with a new Liberty Global report saying that “at a 22% annual growth rate, applying personal data can deliver a €330 billion annual economic benefit for organisations by 2020”.
The international cable operator has released its report The Value of Digital Identity as a response to the EU Proposal for the Regulation on General Data Protection.
It comes as a quarter of the world’s population is predicted to be a member of on online social network by 2015.
At a roundtable in Brussels this week, John Rose, Senior Partner & MD of The Boston Consulting Group, which researched the report, indicated that roughly €50 billion was the current monetary benefit extracted by businesses and governments across Europe. The report places the potential consumer value of the trade in personal data at €670 billion, based on an exchange for free services, goods, convenience and time savings. However these potential economic benefits are highly sensitive, with up to two thirds in jeopardy, if stakeholders do not establish a trusted flow of data.
Manuel Kohnstamm, senior vice president and chief policy officer of Liberty Global, confirmed that 95% of customers for the Horizon product had opted in to allowing their data to be used to offer personalised services across the multimedia platform. A predictable result by the report’s finding that customers are prepared to “trade” in the currency of their personal data to achieve advantages such as free services, convenience and time savings.
Swisscom TV on the move
Customers of the Swisscom TV plus service can now watch their recordings over the Internet, using a PC or laptop, as well as on their home television set, with immediate effect. From the start of July they will also be able to do so using their iPhone or iPad. In addition, the design of the Swisscom TV web presence has undergone a complete overhaul, with the renamed Swisscom TV online service offering numerous new functions as well.
With Swisscom TV online, they can log in using a web browser on a PC or laptop connected to the Internet anywhere in Switzerland and access their recordings from the last 30 days.
From 2 July, the service will also be available to users of the iPhone and iPad. The Swisscom TV Guide app also provides access to customers’ Swisscom TV-Box recordings on the road.
Article by Advanced Television: http://advanced-television.com/2012/06/06/swisscom-tv-on-the-move/
Kabel BW and Unitymedia align offerings
German cable operators Kabel BW and Unitymedia have unified the pay TV packages they offer to subscribers.
Earlier this year Liberty Global completed the merger of the two cable companies that operate in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg. Kabel BW has begun marketing the DigitalTV Allstars package at €15 per month and the DigitalTV Highlights package at €7, bringing its offering in line with Unitymedia’s. The packages replace its Mein TV offering.
Kabel BW has also added new channels to its line-up, including RTL Crime, ProSieben Fun, Passion, PenthouseTV, Nautical Channel and Unitel Classica.
Like Unitymedia, Kabel BW is also now offering a HD option for €4 that includes ProSieben Fun HD, Kinowelt HD and RTL Crime HD.
The Platform Effect
There is no disputing recently that Over The Top (OTT) approaches to cloud content and smart devices (connected TVs, mobile phones and tablets) have had a huge influence on the media and payTV industry.
Just as new market entrants scrambled to sign content deals and offered a compelling OTT offering, the payTV market leaders also pushed to deliver their valued content to these new screens. They needed to do this to keep up with the innovation curve and meet consumer desires to leverage their new devices.
Many had predicted the demise of traditional media stalwarts and the set-top box (STB) but the industry enjoyed continued growth. However, it is important to recognize that the OTT experiment is in its infancy and innovative internet services and device companies will continue to evolve and learn from their early missteps. This paper discusses why OTT has yet to succeed with consumers and how their relationship is evolving with this new way of watching TV. It will also examine what PayTV operators can learn through this experience in order to continue to enrich their content, differentiate services and get closer to customers to maintain their lead and fulfil growth plans.
While the critical component lacking in most of the OTT offerings is clearly traditional live TV content, trials such as the Hill Holiday OTT user study ‘An Experiment in Cutting the Cord’ have proven that this is not the most frustrating factor for consumers using OTT.
The common thread across all the tested platforms has been that users were fundamentally uncertain of how to watch TV that was not their familiar linear style network feed. OTT’s new “search only” approach violated the common principals of channels, Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) and TV networks, which to the PayTV operator’s benefit is the comfort zone of the consumer. Consumers simply do not have the time to be engaged in managing their entertainment ecosystem and making decisions. Users consistently commented that they prefer a “lean back and forget” experience where users appreciate the network’s next show. Simply put, they did not know what to watch next.
This presents an interesting challenge to PayTV operators who themselves are starting to offer more cloud-based DVR and web content and Video on Demand (VoD) libraries that may complicate the linear experience. However, it’s also a huge opportunity to take what is known about the consumer’s personal choices, viewing habits and social media interactions (on an opt-in basis) to take the linear experience to a completely new level. It’s an opportunity to create the first “personal linear network” that is customised for each user, blending the best traditional PayTV content with other smart content offering opportunities.
Cable Europe, the trade body for Europe’s broadband cable sector, has noted the European Commission’s recognition of the industry’s contribution to the progress in achieving the Digital Agenda.
The European Commission recently released a report that it commissioned to help tell the story of progress in executing Europe’s Digital Agenda. According to Cable Europe, the report – Broadband coverage in Europe in 2011: Mapping progress towards the coverage objectives of the Digital Agenda – comes as welcome further evidence to Europe’s wider connectivity marketplace that progress is being made. While cable emerges as the “most important” NGA (next-generation access coverage) service and “the biggest contributor to rural NGA ”, the report also underscores the need for Europe’s mix of technologies to work in concert to help maximise and improve broadband coverage for Europeans, says Cable Europe.
The cable industry’s contributions to achieving the Digital Agenda, previously detailed in a report by Solon, have propelled the concept of infrastructure competition as a means to ensuring that different technologies compete with one another in the marketplace thus creating greater choice, diversity and competition in pricing. Cable Europe has repeated to Commissioner Neelie Kroes that, as a competitive investor in its own networks of tomorrow, it is a signed-up agent of the Digital Agenda. The numbers in the Solon report back up the claim as 95 per cent of households in the reach of European cable networks will be able to subscribe to high speed internet services from cable in 2020. By the end of 2013 nearly all cable operators will have upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0, enabling 100-200 Mbps speeds — and higher. With DOCSIS 3.0 rolled out, 100 Mbps speeds are already becoming the standard and cable is projected to offer 51 per cent of EU households 100Mbps or more by 2013.
Some salient points in the Commission’s broadband coverage report include:
- Cable networks account for the next largest contribution to standard broadband coverage
- For fixed next-generation access (NGA) cable is the most important coverage across Europe
- DOCSIS 3 cable is the biggest contributor to rural NGA coverage (RNC)
- DOCSIS 3 services over the cable networks make a very important contribution to the availability of NGA in the study countries
- Cable networks make about the same contribution to rural coverage as WiMAX
When next generation IP services first debuted years ago they unleashed tremendous excitement – right up to the point where cable service providers and other service providers had to figure out how to bill for them. At the time, because legacy systems weren’t built to handle connectionless services, providers were forced to bill for IP services at flat rates.
Today, following the development of the Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR) standard and its incorporation into DOCSIS, the door has opened to usage-based billing for next generation services. In large part, the rapid advance toward IP profits has been led by the evolution of mediation systems with the capability to leverage the IPDR standard and retrieve data from large IP environments. In this new world, mediation is the strategic enabler for data integration between the network and OSS/BSS systems – and the tap that can open the floodgates on IP service profitability.
However, not all mediation systems are the same. Many in the industry believe that mediation does not always live up to the expectations set by the framers of IPDR. Too often, for example, the job of mediation for IPDR is parsed between different software solutions. Other times, a cable service provider may find itself managing multiple mediation solutions for IP and traditional services. Both scenarios lead to needless complexity, greater inefficiency, higher operating costs and lost profit opportunities. Cable service providers need a standard means of gathering data tied to consumer and commercial bandwidth consumption to support new Internet billing models and to eventually monetize their networks based on type and amount of traffic carried. They should demand a better approach to IPDR mediation that optimizes their investment in next generation networks and services. The hallmarks of such a solution
- Scalability to handle a greater volume of records as data grows exponentially.
- Flexibility to support billing and all other BSS functions, and to integrate with other vital disciplines such as business intelligence/predictive analytics, operations management and marketing.
- Real-time actionable intelligence providing the ability to see into the network, optimize bandwidth management, and monetize every opportunity to drive new revenue streams from convergent IP services.
How Convergys and DigitalRoute are helping cable service providers to manage and monetize bandwidth
Cable service providers need a more advanced approach to BSS that improves bandwidth management and monetization. Together with partners DigitalRoute, Convergys is intensely focused on helping cable service providers leverage advanced BSS to meet these core business objectives and pursue new revenue opportunities.
Jan Karlsson, CEO at DigitalRoute, comments on the rapidly expanding uses for mediation:
“In addition to its familiar role of integrating data across multiple platforms to ensure timely, accurate billing, mediation plays an important part in ensuring efficient bandwidth management. Convergys Active Mediation powered by DigitalRoute, for example, keeps track of bandwidth and how it is used in a specific time period, essentially connecting bandwidth with a specific product and determining the financial value contributed.”
Com Hem reported an increase in profits for the third quarter…
…despite the heavy competition in the Swedish market that continues to claim subscribers. Revenues for the period ending September 30, 2012 came in at SEK 1,133 million (€131.91 million), though the number of connected subscribers remained unchanged in the quarter at 1.75 million, arguably an achievement against competition from IPTV and OTT rivals.
Operating profit was SEK 167 million.
“In a very competitive market, we deliver a stable income which will enable us to continue to invest in products and services, including our new TV platform TiVo as we roll onto the market in 2013”, said Tomas Franzén, CEO, Com Hem.
TiVo is currently slated for launch in the second quarter of 2012.
During the third quarter work on the final phase of the Com Hem channel plan commenced. This involves a restructuring of the network to both minimize errors and create more space on the network.
By Julian Clover, Broadband TV News
Swisscom had reached 728,000 subscribers…
… for its IPTV service ‘Swisscom TV’ by the end of September, up 31% from one year earlier, with 34,000 added in the preceding three months alone.
The number of fixed line broadband connections served in Switzerland rose by a far more modest 4.5% annually to reach 1.71mn, with 14,000 connections added in the third quarter. In Italy, the bundled TV and broadband offering launched a year ago by its local subsidiary Fastweb in partnership with Sky Italia has attracted 123,000 customers to date. Total revenues across all operations and markets for the first nine months of this year declined very slightly (1% year-on-year) to reach CHF 8.427bn (US$ 8.9bn), while net profits fell at a similar rate on an adjusted basis to reach CHF 1.528bn.
IP&TV News Editor’s view: The company deployed a “taste-and-mood” based content discovery engine last July for its IPTV service from Israeli firm Jinni – it will be interesting to see how this affects video consumption rates, and we will try to glean some information on this from Swisscom.