BBWN Bites: Virgin Media's Bundles Lead to Broadband Gains
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.
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 Ł1.28 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.
Binge on the Best Statistics
New SVoD competitors seek sign-ups, but Netflix values time spent viewing.
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.
Mixed Results for TV Subs
Telekom Romania saw TV subscriptions drop in Romania but it's parent company reported subscriber gains in Greece.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana. Like what you read? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
(Home page image source: Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay)
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.