Swedish cable operator Com Hem has struck a deal with Telenor Sweden-owned OpenUniverse, which specialises in providing open broadband infrastructure, to offer TV, broadband and telephony services over OpenUniverse networks. OpenUniverse currently operates 37 metropolitan networks across Sweden, with a potential customer base of over 100,000 customers.
Norwegian operator Telenor reported improved TV numbers in its Q4 and full year 2013 figures, as it logged record EBITDA of NOK36 billion (€4.3 billion) for the year.In its home market, Telenor added 2,000 TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2013, rounding out the year with 527,000 TV customers compared to 524,000 in 2012.In Norway, fixed internet and TV revenues were a combined NOK1.32billion in Q4, up 5.6% year-on-year, helping offset reduced telephony subscriptions and wholesale revenues. Average revenues per user for TV were up 12. 5% year-on-year to NOK279.However, in Sweden Telenor reported a slight quarterly decline in TV subscribers with 2013 remaining flat at 284,000.Overall in Q4 2013, Telenor Group reported revenues of NOK28 billion, representing organic revenue growth of 1%. EBITDA before other items was NOK 8.99 billion. Full year revenues were NOK104 billion while EBITDA was NOK36 billion.“During 2013, Telenor Group increased or maintained its market share in key markets. For the fourth quarter, Telenor Group reports organic revenue growth of 1%, in line with the company’s growth rate for the full year,” said Telenor Group president and CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas.On January 2, 2014, Telenor acquired 100% of the voting rights in Tele2’s Swedish residential fibre and cable TV business for NOK 749 million. The business includes 370,000 connected households, with 125,000 fixed broadband subscribers, 75,000 digital TV subscribers and 220,000 analogue TV households.Telenor said the deal strengthens its position as one of the leading providers of broadband and digital TV services in Sweden.
RTL must continue to grow its digital business and look to global scale as it faces competition from the likes of YouTube and Facebook, according to the German broadcast group’s co-CEO.Delivering a keynote at MIPTV yesterday in Cannes, Guillaume de Posch (pictured) said that while RTL was originally geared towards local tastes in specific European markets, it now faces a “cultural challenge” as it goes up against global platforms.“It’s not only about M6 and TF1, or Prosieben against RTL,” said de Posch. “It’s about Facebook, YouTube, MCNs, coming in, rolling out of California, trying to grab our business.”While RTL has begun to address these new challenges in recent years by investing in companies like US-based multi-channel network BroadbandTV, fashion and beauty MCN Stylehaul, and US digital video ad platform SpotX, de Posch said it will “probably take us probably 10 years to master it.”“As we speak now, we’ve got around 1,000 young, savvy digital executives in the US helping us out in our digital endeavors. I can tell you, we feel much more comfortable today than we felt a couple of years ago not having these new tools and skillsets, but this challenge is in the way.”The RTL boss appealed to the EU to make sure that new proposals on ‘television without frontiers’, which are due to be discussed in the coming months, are “properly drafted for European media groups.”“If it’s not, we will be super-regulated still, whereas all the newcomers that I mentioned will simply flow out of the US or other regions of the world with zero regulation. That could be really a danger, we believe, for the future of our business,” said de Posch.“We need to make sure that the EU understands this – not only for the broadcasting side of the business, but also for the production side.”Discussing RTL’s current online efforts, de Posch said that digital – one of RTL’s three main ‘pillars’ along with broadcast and content – only contributed 8.4% of the company’s total revenues last year.Including all the short-form and long-form streaming that RTL does – across digital platforms, replay and catch-up – in January and February the company generated 11 billion views per month. “The question is long-term, how are we going to make sure that we’re going to monetise this,” he said.Addressing the changing media landscape, the RTL boss predicted that hit TV shows will still be possible in the future, but audience sizes will be smaller as a “direct consequence of the fragmentation of all the devices”.“If you recall, 30 years ago major hits on TV were doing 30 million, 50 million viewers on American television. Now if you’re lucky, if you take for example Idol, or The Voice in the US, you reach 10 million. So you’ve got a reduction in the absolute volume of viewers that you can reach into one live programming. Therefore we also believe that in the next few years, you will have a ‘new normal’ in what we call a hit.”