(Brussels, 8 March) After three days of debate and discussion on the future of the cable industry, Cable Congress 2013 concluded yesterday in London by sending a strong signal to operators and partners, competitors, investors, policymakers, regulators and consumers that the best is yet to come.
This year’s Cable Congress came at a time of great activity within the sector and in a city where technology, media and entertainment are leading globally. Both, Michael T. Fries, President and CEO of Liberty Global, and Neil Berkett, CEO of Virgin Media appeared at the event to talk about their respective views on the industry and the recently announced merger of the two businesses.
The week began by celebrating another strong year for cable at year-end 2012, with continued strong growth in the core lines of business and an unmistakable tipping point into the digital interactive television universe. As Europe experiences an economic downturn, the health of the industry was a frequently mentioned bright spot, as operators in even the hardest hit countries such as ONO in Spain and ZON in Portugal continue to grow and invest.
Manuel Kohnstamm, President of Cable Europe, commented: “The key takeaway is that our markets are irresistibly moving to greater and greater convergence. Cable’s drive to innovate, change and adapt, to consolidate will create significant value to society and a rich and rewarding experience to the consumer. Regulators must recognize this and take a forward-looking analysis of our fast-moving industry. The European communications industry remains fragmented and will need more transnational and national mergers and acquisitions to stand its ground.”
A key theme this year was leveraging the power of cable’s infrastructure to turn perceived threats such as over-the-top services into big opportunities. Cable has invested billions into building superior network infrastructure over many years, laying the foundation for cable to create and exploit new opportunities in mobile, in and out of home WiFi, cloud, multi-screen, the next generation digital home, and other areas not yet known.
Cable Europe Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth added: “Despite new entrants and a genuine structural change underway in the industry, cable is in a competitive sweetspot. It is clear from Cable Congress this year, that the future has much to offer, but one thing is for certain – we must keep the pressure on, keep innovating, and keep the customer at the forefront of everything we do.”
Cable Congress, the annual flagship event of the European cable industry, will return in 2014.