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Europe’s Cable Industry: Winning In Broadband, Losing In TV

by David Mercer | Mar 05, 2013

As European cable’s annual get-together, Cable Congress, takes place this week in London, the latest analysis from ConsumerMetrix highlights an interesting contrast in cable’s performance as far its customers are concerned.

Using the net promoter score approach, we found a net overall satisfaction rating for broadband of 66% for cable providers, compared to 63% for other broadband providers (mostly telco/DSL). In television, by contrast, cable scored only 37%, compared to an average of 44% for other platforms.

The first thing to note is that broadband scores higher than television for all providers. It should be a warning to multiplay service providers, and those offering pay TV in particular, that consumers overall appear to appreciate broadband more highly than television.

For cable players the discrepancy is wider than for its rivals. This tends to confirm the intuition that cable’s real strength lies in broadband (with higher speeds, at least advertised, than its DSL-based rivals), while it struggles in TV, where it has been slower than satellite players to roll out new technologies.

As I wrote at last year’s event, the cable industry is caught in a pincer movement between higher value, technology-leading satellite services, and free DTT services. Already last year there were signs that cable is happy to accept broadband customers who are not paying for TV or video service:

“Manuel Cubero, COO of Kabel Deutschland, made a telling remark when he said that the German cable industry now thinks of broadband customers using OTT video services as its own video customers, and in that context the cable industry’s video or TV customer base is growing.” March 2012, David Mercer blog @ Strategy Analytics

Television still matters to the vast majority of customers, of course, so cable must deliver to those expectations in one way or another. As connected home technologies converge the opportunity to build on cable’s broadband strengths will increase, but content rights battles, the key competitive challenge, are here to stay.

David Mercer

 

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