Saturday, August 25, 2007

Belgacom Approaches 200K IPTV Subscribers

Belgacom reported that it had 191,348 IPTV subscribers at the end of 2Q07, an increase of 51,683 in the first half and 41,857 in the second quarter. It generated 16 million euros in revenue from its IPTV service in 1H07, which is up 11 million euros from 1H06. It achieved a 14.6 euro average monthly customer spending for its IPTV service in 1H07 compared to 10.9 euros in 1H06.

Part of this increase can be attributed to double play and triple play bundles that Belgacom introduced in 2Q07. The double play bundle consists of Internet plus IPTV and the triple play bundle consists of Internet plus IPTV plus mobile. Both of these bundles can be acquired with without a voice line.

Belgacom's "try & buy" program generated significant churn in 1Q07, which was absorbed by mid-May. The end of the “try & buy” promotion positively impacted the Belgacom TV ARPU, which grew to EUR 14.6 over the first six months of 2007, equal to a year-on-year increase of 34%.

The factors that contributed to Belgacom's success in 2Q07 were the:
  • Introduction of Comfort View (Pause TV, instant Rewinding, PVR) in February
  • Introduction of Belgacom TV over ADSL Time in March
  • Additional channels (MTV, Nickelodeon) in Classic+ offer in April
  • An extended video-on-demand offering -including concerts-, increasing the VoD usage
  • Introduction of 'Internet +TV' packs at EUR 40 (ADSL Light) and EUR 50 (ADSL GO) in
    April, with option to include Mobile services (Smile 10)
  • Launch of Walled Garden applications (yellow/white pages, railway schedules,
    holidays, news etc) in May

Belgacom has a major FTTN program underway and increased the penetration of its VDSL service from 44 percent to 52 percent of its households. Its IPTV service is available to 80 percent of Belgian households. In 1H07 Belgacom invested 53 million euros in its FTTN deployment and 45 million euros in its IPTV service.

Belgacom seems to be on track for significant growth with its IPTV service. I think that this shows that an IPTV service can compete well in a saturated cable market where the bulk of customers receive only analog services. Cable companies that want to defend against IPTV services need to upgrade their customers to digital services as quickly as they can.

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