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Cable Congress 2012: Threats to cable industry real and present

The cable TV industry has enjoyed a good 2011 overall, but new research from Strategy Analytics is warning that despite its perceived inherent advantages the cable platform's edges are being eroded by rivals.

In its report, 'Europe’s TV Platforms: Advanced Features, Performance and Customer Satisfaction', authored by VP & Principal Analyst of Digital Consumer Practice David Mercer and fielded in Q3 2011, the analyst suggests that when examining the current European cable TV subscriber base, the cable platform has some performance advantages over satellite, its key pay television competitor, in overall value for money and customer service.

Yet the study warns that satellite providers are noticeably stronger than cable in rolling out advanced services and that in terms of availability of advanced services, despite being seen as weaker than cable in terms of its performance, DTT is a closer competitor than satellite. Moreover due to its intrinsic free nature, DTT poses the biggest threat to cable and also satellite in terms of value for money. 

According to the study, of all the top ten feature areas of cable, satellite and DTT which users regard as useful or very useful, it is only in Internet access that cable enjoys a lead on both rival platforms. Satellite providers rank higher than cable on most customer performance metrics apart from billing, customer service and value for money. Video On Demand (VOD) has traditionally been seen as an area offering competitive advantage for cable, yet the research reveals that cable does not have a clear lead over satellite in customer perception in the VOD. Furthermore, the study says that VOD in any case is not perceived as very useful relative to DVR-based features and warns that if the cable industry wishes to maximise its VOD advantage it needs to meet this challenge.

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