European Cable Industry reports strong 2006 results, Exceptional growth for Digital Cable TV

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007 
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  • Total cable revenue in Europe (YE 2006): 18.8b EUR
  • Double digit growth in revenue year-on-year: +12%
  • Digital TV takes off across the continent: +53%
  • Broadband Internet continues to grow strongly: +26%
  • Strongest growth in telephony since launch: +21,6%

AMSTERDAM — Cable Europe, the European Cable Communications Association, presented strong results over 2006 at its annual conference in Amsterdam. 2006 was a landmark year for cable in Europe, with double digit growth across all triple play product lines and exceptional growth for digital cable TV (+53%).

Success for cable in Europe

In six years, from 2000 to 2006, the European cable revenues in Europe have doubled from 9.4b EUR to 18.8b EUR. Today, broadband Internet and telephony services account for more than one third of the total revenue. Total cable revenue in Europe showed year-on-year double digit growth (+12%).

Breakthrough of digital cable TV

All over Europe, digital cable TV has taken off. In the last two years, the number of digital TV subscribers has doubled, reaching 11 million subscribers in 2006. Year-on-year Europe had a 53% increase in digital cable TV subscribers. Countries such as Germany, Netherlands and Belgium are catching up on the UK’s early lead with strong growth of digital cable TV in 2006.

Accelerating Growth in Telephony

Cable telephony services, showed a +21.6% year-on-year growth in subscribers. This is the strongest growth since the launch of cable telephony in Europe. For 2007, an even stronger growth is expected with VoIP cable telephony as the main driver. Today, there are +10 million cable telephony subscribers in Europe.

Continued Growth for Internet

In markets with a strong cable industry, broadband Internet penetration is higher. Compared to 2005, cable Internet shows +26% year-on-year growth. This sustained the strong growth trends of recent years . Cable had a total of +13 million Internet subscribers at year-end 2006 in Europe.

Main Policy Issues

Within the framework of a number of EU policy revisions, including the ongoing review of the New Regulatory Framework, Cable Europe:

  • calls on European policy makers to optimize conditions for the fastest possible digital television migration. Growth of digital cable TV is now finally taking off but is still significantly lagging behind the US. More work is needed to unify Europe’s fragmented markets and regulatory regimes.
  • expresses serious concern over de increasing tendency of local and national authorities to provide state-subsidy to new electronic infrastructures in Digital Terrestrial, WiFi and Fibre-to-the-Home, often in very competitive urban areas. Such subsidies distort markets and impede investments and network upgrades. This will require further guidance and decisions from the European Union.
  • supports a stronger role for the European Commission including a veto power over a number of national regulatory decisions. Not only on notifications made by the national regulators on the markets and the companies they intend to regulate, but also on the regulatory obligations they would like to impose. Cable Europe supports the EU Commissions ambition to reduce the number of regulated markets, to only those larger ones which lack genuine competition.
  • believes that a significant revision of the copyrights clearance system is needed. Taking away current inefficiencies could decrease total costs by more than 50%. A new copyright clearance could lead to 50% efficiencies to the benefit of both operators and right holders. This would also contribute to the economic development and emergence of innovative digital and pan-European services in light of the i2010 initiative.
  • calls for harmonized implementation at national level of the current rules. For example, must carry rules in many markets are not correctly applied in national legislation as, in some cases, they go far beyond the provisions set out in the NRF, and are discriminatory in their treatment of cable with regards to other distribution platforms.

A memorable year for Cable Europe

In autumn 2006, the European Cable Communications Association changed its name from ECCA into Cable Europe. In addition to introducing a new name, Cable Europe also renamed its annual congress into the Cable Congress.

The new name is a testimony to the new dynamics of the cable industry. Regulation relevant to the cable industry is increasingly dictated by Europe, and often has strong business implications. Hence, the need for a powerful European Association that can defend the interests of the cable industry and make its voice heard in Brussels and beyond.

In 2006, Cable Europe and EuroCableLabs also launched a new newsletter: Cable News. The magazine reports on the latest trends and developments in the European cable industry. As an Association, Cable Europe pays a lot of attention to informing its members and other key stakeholders about the industry, and Cable Europe’s initiatives and opinions.

Cable Congress 07

The Cable Congress 07 is the 53rd annual congress of Cable Europe, the European Cable Communications Association. The Cable Congress takes place in Amsterdam on February 6, 7 and 8 at the Hotel Okura and will welcome close to 700 guest in Amsterdam at the Okura Hotel.

The Cable Congress offers a three day conference featuring more than 20 CEOs, CTOs, and Managing Directors from leading cable, content and technology companies. The Cable Congress is the largest dedicated cable event in Europe for senior executives and discusses the latest developments in the fields of strategy, investments, technology, content, marketing, and regulation. The congress also offers an exhibition featuring state-of-the-art cable living rooms.