Future is bright for cable industry, says Kurth

matthias_kurthThe cable industry is not a “dying business” but has a promising future, despite the rise of OTT services such as Netflix, according to Cable Europe executive chairman Matthias Kurth.

Speaking at the OTTtv World Summit in London, Kurth (pictured) said that it was a “misconception to say that people are cutting the cord, and cable is a dying business,” as it is the cable companies that own the customer relationship.

With new services, like OTT video, reliant on good broadband connections, Kurth said that in his home market of Germany, cable subscriber numbers are growing, as the cable operators can provide better internet speeds than DSL connections provided by incumbents in the market.

“We are on the winning side, otherwise Vodafone would not have taken over a cable operator,” Kurth said, in reference to the mobile operator’s recent acquisition of Kabel Deutschland – having completed a 76.57% acquisition of the company’s share capital in October.

“Here in the UK we saw that Virgin already made an agreement with Netflix on a commercial basis. So we don’t see that the OTT players like Netflix are a threat to the cable business. They will be integrated in TiVo, or in Horizon, or in other kinds of services, because then we can offer an additional value for our customers,” said Kurth

“We have the customer relationship, we want to integrate all of these kinds of new services, and people would like to have easy and seamless access to all these kinds of things. It would be stupid to block it,” he added, saying that doing so would make OTT “much more dangerous.”

Asked about challenges to the industry, Kurth said that copyright fragmentation was a hurdle that still needed to be overcome, as this prevented the creation of a European content market. However, he said that, in his view, the future of the cable business was “quite promising.”

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