Also today, Comcast Flex offers choice, Slovenia's broadband competition is plentiful (and weak), and a city in Iowa considers municipal broadband for better connectivity.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings's favorite benchmark is "total subscriber viewing time" -- not total subscribers or rate of sub growth, he told attendees of the DealBook Conference in Manhattan today. Hastings's comment comes as competition heats up in the SVoD arena, with competitors using free trials and bundling deals to pull away Netflix customers.
Binge on the Best Statistics
New SVoD competitors seek sign-ups, but Netflix values time spent viewing.
Virgin Media grew its broadband customer base to 5.65 million, up 70,300 in the last 12 months. But video accounted for 50,000 of the 53,000 RGU losses in Virgin Media's third quarter, in part due to proactive steps by the operator to focus on more profitable bundles (and customers), according to its earnings release. The UK cable operator saw mainly flat revenue of £1.28 billion (US$1.64 billion) compared with 12 months prior, although fixed-mobile converged (FMC) bundles reached 85,000 customers in its most recent quarter.
Customers can connect their own cable modems and gateways to Comcast's Xfinity Flex, the company said. Folks can avoid extra device-lease fees by getting their own gear, but they'll lose access to xFi, Comcast's managed WiFi service for consumers. (See Comcast Extends 'Flex' to Customer-Purchased Modems & Gateways .)
In Slovenia, 56 operators provide retail broadband, and 87.38% of broadband connections include a TV service with an average of 152 channels, according to the most recent report from government regulator AKOS. The most popular bundle is quad-play, followed by triple-play, AKOS found in its study, which was conducted in December 2018. Despite the number of broadband providers serving residential customers, the top four providers controlled more than half the market, AKOS said.
Wholesale broadband helped Telekom Romania increase Q3 revenue 7.4% year-over-year to €243.5 million ($269.2 million), parent company OTE said. The wholesale segment grew 67.3% year-over-year, it said. Telekom Romania's broadband and TV subscribers spent more per household, but the overall subscriber count dropped -- TV subs fell by 6.9% and broadband subs fell by 7.2%. In Greece, OTC reported that TV subs grew 2.7%, and broadband subs increased 6%. Telekom Romania also recently launched a Smart WiFi service for home broadband, as well as a mobile service.
Mixed Results for TV Subs
Telekom Romania saw TV subscriptions drop in Romania but it's parent company reported subscriber gains in Greece.
Rainier Connect will operate Tacoma's public broadband and television utility, previously managed by the Washington State city, after the council approved a deal this week to hand over the reins to the service provider. The service has operated at a loss for several years, with only 22,000 using broadband Internet services and 12,500 using TV out of the prospective 117,000 subscribers. It ran a half-million-dollar deficit in 2018 after a $40,000 profit in 2019 after dramatic but "unsustainable" budget cuts, King5 News reported.
Fort Dodge, Iowa, residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of a referendum question asking whether city government should have the power to establish a municipal broadband utility by 71.6%, according to unofficial election results posted by Iowa's Secretary of State. The measure required a simple majority to pass, reported local paper The Messenger. The vote generated 1,722 yes votes, 683 no votes, the unofficial tally found. The city now will explore next-steps, including how to build a broadband utility, the cost and potential revenue, and prospective number of subscribers.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.