Spanish cable operator ONO can prosper despite the economic problems buffeting Spain, according to CEO Rosalia Portela.
What stand out as some of cable’s priorities as we look at the state of the industry in 2013? Most European cable companies have now a unique window of opportunity, as their networks are further developed that that of their telco competition. This advantage will however not last forever as eventually both telco’s and new entrants start rolling out glass fibre networks. Cable companies should use their current advantage by continuously investing in their networks to make sure that they will be competitive also in the midterm , by rolling out their bundled offerings and thus intensifying their customer relationships and by investing in superior customer service so that churn will depend less on network capacity and price.
Can you tell us a bit about what the competitive landscape for the European cable industry looks like and how it has changed over the past few years? The cable industry is clearly consolidating with fewer and larger players offering better networks and profiting from skill and scale effects. Competition is increasingly about data and bundles, with not only telco’s as the new main competitors but also (global) over the top players, which profit from “the winner takes all” effects. The definition of what competition is, is shifting fast and incumbent players can either decide to fight each other for what is left of the “old” market or decide to try innovative alliances and thus strengthen their role vis-a vis the new entrants..
What sorts of strategies have you noticed cable executives adopting to stay ahead, especially where innovation is concerned? Most cable executives seem to be driven by the fear to become a “dumb pipe” dependent on the whiles of the regulator and have thus been investing in deepening their offering through content and services, either organically or through a portfolio of acquisitions. The results so far have been mixed and maybe cable companies should be more stringent about…
Annet Aris is joining Rosalia Portela of ONO, Dana Strong of UPC Ireland, Berit Svendsen of Telenor Norway and Miranda Curtis of Liberty Global in the Panel Discussion: View from the Top, moderated by a CNN news anchor, Nina Dos Santos. View the latest agenda here.
(Brussels, 14 February) Cable Europe, the trade association for the European cable industry, today celebrates consolidation and the role it plays in building strong cable players, stimulating healthy infrastructure and promoting competition ahead of its annual flagship industry gathering.
In keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s Day and ahead of Cable Europe’s annual conference with 69% of attendees at C-level, Director and Board Level, Cable Congress, takes place in London from 5-7 March 2013. We look back over the past decade at how successful pairings have resulted in the consolidation of the European cable landscape. Where Europe once boasted around 10,000 providers, today this number is closer to 7,000 stronger, more efficient and more competitive operators.
Yet, despite the wave of combinations in recent years, the cable industry still remains highly fragmented. It will need further consolidation to compete over the long term and to help meet Europe’s Digital Agenda policy objectives of increased connectivity for consumers.
Cable Europe Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth added: “Cable’s investment in fibre- rich high speed networks plays an important if not sometimes invisible role in meeting the entertainment and connectivity needs of Europe’s sophisticated consumers. As the unique crossroads of technology and content that keeps us entertained, informed and connected, it’s entirely fitting that this year’s Cable Congress will take place in London, Europe’s undisputed Digital Capital and one of the most connected cities in the world.”
Cable Congress 2013 will feature the launch of new industry data with the contribution of fresh IHS Screen Digest data, the latest trends and an incredible line-up of industry all-stars across cable, content, technology and new media. Highlights include:
New content, programme updates and interviews are being added regularly to www.cablecongress.com and don’t forget that 22 February is the last day to submit nomination entries for Cable Europe’s 2013 Fellow and Innovation Awards.
Is there anything that makes the Irish cable market stand out from others in the wider European market? What about the similarities? I am pleased to say that the Irish cable market has become a stand out in the Liberty Global family due to our recent extraordinary growth. We are currently topping the LGI charts in terms of growth – being the fastest growing company in the group in 2011 and second fastest in 2012. Our growth clearly demonstrates that Irish consumers and businesses have recognised the benefit of superfast broadband coupled with value based bundle pricing.
In regards to similarities, as with other markets in Europe, cable is leading the way for next generation broadband investment and driving broadband innovation, awareness and adoption. In Ireland, UPC has been the leading investor and innovator in fixed Irish infrastructure over the past few years. We have invested €500M upgrading our network to world class standards, and this is contributing to national competitiveness and overall economic progress. On foot of our investment, broadband adoption in Ireland has grown from 437,000 of the population in 2006 to 1.1million in 2012. We see this kind of trend all over Europe where cable innovation is driving more adoption as well as more investment right across the other industry sectors.
Can you tell us a bit about the importance of investing in next generation broadband to keep these positive trends on track? There is no doubt that network investments from cable operators across Europe provide a strong foundation for economic growth and recovery. We recently commissioned a study, The UPC Report on Ireland’s Digital Future (available at www.upc.ie/digitalindex) which covers digital trends across all consumers and businesses (not just UPC customers). It identifies how Irish society and the economy are embracing the digital revolution and how our digital lives will evolve in the future.
The research shows the extraordinary impact that digital growth has on a local economy. At present, the internet economy accounts for roughly 3% of Irish GDP however, research shows that this is set to double to 6% or over €11B over the next four years. Using the Booz & Company Digitisation Index, the UPC Report estimates that this could translate into employment of 18,000 or more if Irish society and industry can keep pace with the digitisation levels of our EU neighbours and particularly our UK and Scandinavian counterparts.
Recent research by the McKinsey Global Institute examined the internet economies of G8 nations as well as those of Brazil, China, India, South Korea and Sweden. This study shows…
CABLE CONGRESS 2013
Dana Strong is joining Rosalia Portela of ONO, Annet Aris of Kabel Deutschland, Sanoma and Adjunct Prof. INSEAD, Berit Svendsen of Telenor Norway and Miranda Curtis of Liberty Global in the Panel Discussion: View from the Top, moderated by a CNN news anchor, Nina Dos Santos. View the latest agenda here.
Rosalia Portela, CEO of ONO and Dana Strong, CEO of UPC Ireland speak to Cable News on challenges encountered along the way to the top and give some free advice on what it takes to get there.
Power has no gender
Fortune 500’s current list of female CEOs is currently at its longest ever. Women are at the top of 18 of the companies. It is safe to say that the glass ceiling is cracked but by no means has it been shattered. And when we look closer to home in the tech sector, the list is shorter – HP, Xerox and Yahoo! stand out. The cable industry has some power brokers of its own who are pioneers, role models and the face of inspiration for women in business leadership in Europe and beyond.
Reaching the top requires good challenge management skills. ONO’s CEO, Rosalia Portela was forthcoming about encountering hurdles, “Throughout my career I have found many preconceptions that I have had to face by proving, with work and effort, that women are capable of achieving all the professional goals we set ourselves.” Ms. Portela went on to say that she “found preconceived ideas on how far women could go, a fact that included a certain fear of the unknown that required more effort and determination in our case.”
Sitting in class back in secondary school, Dana Strong, CEO of UPC Ireland recalls one of her teachers leading a discussion about the proverbial glass ceiling. “It just seemed like a challenge too good to refuse” for Strong. Having changed her mind on becoming a doctor, she was searching for something new. “Whether consciously or sub-consciously I chose a university that has one of the best business schools in the world. Once I achieved the right grades and enrolled in Wharton, I set the wheels in motion.”
Cable’s chiefs offer free advice: “I urge young women to have the tenacity to believe that good performance will be recognised. Also I would council young talent to have strong self-awareness about what you are good at and what you aren’t. Use your strengths and work on your weaknesses,” says Strong.
Leadership in the business world is changing, giving reason for optimism. “Giving a woman a position of responsibility generated a lot of insecurity in those who dared to make that decision and, of course, any mistakes that could be made were placed on our shoulders,” concedes Portela. “We have been able to overcome this by showing, with great determination and guaranteed results, that we are capable of everything we set out to achieve.”
CABLE CONGRESS 2013
Rosalia Portela and Dana Strong are joining Annet Aris of Kabel Deutschland, Sanoma and Adjunct Prof. INSEAD, Berit Svendsen of Telenor Norway and Miranda Curtis of Liberty Global in the Panel Discussion: View from the Top, moderated by a CNN news anchor, Nina Dos Santos. View the latest agenda here.