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Mixed fortunes for telcos in TV in Q3

A clutch of European telcos across Switzerland and the Benelux reported their Q3 numbers this week, with mixed results for their respective TV services.

Swisscom has struggled to increase its TV base in what the company regularly describes as a saturated market. The operator did see its TV numbers rise by a modest 0.7% year-on-year, despite no growth in the third quarter, to reach 1.551 million at the end of the period.

Swisscom in September rebranded its TV service from Swisscom TV to blue TV, with premium offering Teleclub rebranding as blue+ and the Kitag cinema offering becoming blue Cinema.

Swisscom’s addition of rival UPC Switzerland’s MySports offering, with its sought-after rights to Swiss ice hockey, came after the reporting period ended.

Belgium’s Proximus added 11,000 TV customers in the third quarter, contributing to a 2.3% lift in the consumer business’s revenues. Convergent revenue was up 4.1%.

Proximus’s TV base was 1.663 million at the end of September, up 1.8% year-on-year, a slower rate of growth than the company’s fixed broadband base, which added 14,000 lines in the quarter and grew 2.1% year-on-year to reach 2.122 million.

Flemish region rival Telenet, backed by Liberty Global, also saw its TV base decline, in its case by 3%, with basic video customers falling by 26% and enhanced video subscribers declining by 1%. The company had a total video base of 1.822 million at the end of September. Telenet said the decline in the enhanced video offering was due to the delayed signing of the Belgian football broadcasting contract with Eleven Sports and a temporary halt in its ‘signal switch’ campaign to encourage basic TV subs to upgrade.

In neighbouring the Netherlands, KPN saw its TV base decline quarter-on-quarter, down from 2.293 million to 2.279 million. In Q3, IPTV numbers more or less flatlined, rising by about 1,000, which failed to offset a continued decline in Digitenne’s digital-terrestrial base. The latter lost 15,000 customers in the quarter, ending with 118,000.

The operator suffered from a slide in Net Promoter Score among customers in Q3, down from +18 to +12 which it blamed in part on an unpopular change in its IPTV interface.