Friday, December 15, 2006

One million subscribers cable digital television

The distribution of digital television has gone into a new phase last Sunday night when the television signal went from analogue to digital. Presently there are three distribution networks in The Netherlands: Digital Broadcast terrestrial (DBV-T), which is used for Digitenne; IPTV through ADSL; digital cable television.

Beginning of December the 1 million milestone was reached by the cable distributors. The branch organisation of Dutch cable operators VECAI announced that 1 million subscribers had been booked. CanalDigital did reach the 1 million milestone a few months ago. Digitenne had 245.000 subscribers last September. In total 2,450.000 subscribers. The penetration has gone fast. In 1,5 years the target group grew from 380.000 subscribers to 2,450.000 viewers of digital television.

The most successful cable operator was CaiW, the operator working around The Hague. With an offer of 48 television stations and 24 radio stations, it has been able to convert 80 per cent of its analogue audience to digital television; 88.000 households went digital. The real trick lies in the offer. The analogue package offer was diminished by 20 channels. The digital decoder is offered at delivery costs, while the costs of the digital package are the same of the analogue standard package. Subscribers paid in fact only the delivery costs. The last 20 percent is happy with its limited offer.

Digital television not only offers better quality of image, but offers also more choices. The behaviour changes by the broader offer. Viewers look closer to programs of their interest. Besides they like to put together their television evening using the electronic program guide (epg).

Digital television is important for the cable operators, as they need more revenues. They invest heavily in an triple play infrastructure. The networks have to be upgraded to transmit a stronger signal for digital television and to offer the promised capacity to internet subscribers. Also the telephone infrastructure listens very closely as the competition is on with the incumbent KPN’s fixed network, which is loosing subscribers rapidly. Besides the cable operators will have to compete with the glass network of KPN in two years.

Tags: telephone, digital television

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