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Q&A: Peter Charissé, managing director, ANGA COM

Peter Charissé

Peter Charissé

ANGA COM managing director Peter Charissé talks to DTVE about the upcoming annual German TV and broadband exhibition in Cologne and the issues facing the German cable industry.

What are the main themes of this year’s Congress and why?
Top issues at this year‘s ANGA COM include connected and personalised content delivery: the recent developments in this technology will be one highlight within our two large topic areas –broadband and content distribution. One might also call this Smart TV 2.0.

What new features will the event include this year?
For the first time, all technology panels will be held in English so that the congress programme becomes even more attractive for international visitors. Also, we’ve kept the price for the three-day-ticket for the technology panels at €100. A completely new feature is our “Speakers’ Corner” situated in the exhibition hall. All exhibition visitors can attend the events held at this practice forum at no extra charge. In addition to our regular congress agenda, it’s a platform where exhibitors can introduce their new products, projects and solutions with a short presentation or live showcase.

What are the main challenges facing the German cable industry in 2014?
The economic design of the cooperation between network operators and content providers remains a big challenge: how to distribute the value added in the digital world between them? This applies in particular to new on-demand and streaming services. Netflix is only one example. This issue is therefore another one of our key topics on the congress agenda.

What impact do you expect consolidation of the German cable industry to have over the next year?
After the merger of Unitymedia and Kabel BW in 2011 there have been comparatively few mergers between cable operators. In Germany, we still have a variety of large, medium-sized and local network operators. Currently I don’t see any indication that this will change dramatically in 2014. The acquisition of Kabel Deutschland by Vodafone was of course quite spectacular. However, this is more of a reflection on the convergence of telcos and the cable industry than a consolidation. The industry is currently very intent on seeing how this will affect the relevant broadband markets.

What are the principal issues that cable operators must address in their relationship with content providers and broadcasters and what progress do you expect over the coming year?
We must succeed in getting across, to content providers and in politics alike, that infrastructure and delivery via this infrastructure have their value and need to be remunerated appropriately. Without broadband networks there is no bright new world of media. It can no longer be the case that operators continue to invest into their networks because of the increasing data volume while the content providers are the ones predominantly benefiting from the advantages. We need to come to an agreement on a fair distribution of the added value. Also, the legislator may not limit our refinancing opportunities ex ante. Unfortunately, we have not reached this goal yet.

To what extent do you see a shift in video consumption away from linear viewing and the main TV screen and how well positioned is cable in Germany to address this?
We see an increasing interest in on-demand services and have responded to this with continuously enhancing our own offers. Meanwhile, many cable operators provide or are working full speed on video-on-demand solutions and multi-screen-offers. Time shift television in the form of catch up TV and network PVR remains a challenge. There are already technical solutions for this. However, some content providers still refuse licensing. This brake on innovation must absolutely be removed before the end of the year. Here again, the ball is now in the court of the collecting societies and broadcasters.

What other major issues will ANGA as an organisation be focusing on over the coming year?
Further to the political discussions with regards to continued broadband expansion we will focus on the topic areas mentioned above. We lobby for a fair distribution of the added value between those building the networks and those using them to sell their offers. In terms of regulation this involves copyright law, telecommunications law and public media law.

For more information about ANGA COM 2014, click here.