Cable Congress 2010 – Brussels. 2010 is likely to be the year private equity starts exiting from European cable.
Speaking in a session providing an overview of the industry, Guy Bisson, research director, television, head of television, Screen Digest, identified the likeliest operators to experience this trend as KDG (Germany), Com Hem (Sweden), You See (Denmark), Numericable (France) and Aster and Multimedia Polska (both Poland).
He added that although values were on the up, they were nowhere near those in 2000 and more realistic, citing the example of the recent Liberty Global/Unity Media deal, with four times ARPU per RGU being “a good price”.
Speaking about the cable industry in general, Bisson said that the digital cable penetration in the EU27 is expected to rise from 35% in 2009 to 75% in 2014, with the number of digital homes increasing from 21.5 million to 46 million. ARPU over the same period is set to grow from €21.66 to €28.16.
In the content sector, the Comcast/NBCU deal in the US has set a precedent, its ‘back to the future’ tone reminiscent of major content/distribution mergers back in the 1990s.
The situation is somewhat different in Europe, however, where broadcasters are more willing to explore various avenues to deliver their content to the TV.