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Deutsche breaks 1m IPTV barrier 9 months late, eyes rest of Europe for TV

Deutsche Telekom came out with its third quarter results this week with revenues marginally ahead of last quarter at €15


Published: 4 November, 2010


Deutsche Telekom came out with its third quarter results this week with revenues marginally ahead of last quarter at €15.8 billion, but down around 4% on this quarter last year. Revenue went down in Europe and up in the US by a few percentage points, but its fledgling IPTV operation has finally breached the 1 million homes barrier and it has plans to take TV services deeper into German homes. It may decide to follow the current trend and offer OTT, video over the public internet, to its existing IPTV offering and use this, along with further investment in satellite TV, on the rest of its European footprint.

Deutsche had previously said that it was on target to reach 1 million homes by the end of 2009, and missed by more than 100,000 homes, but it is clearly now accelerating once more.

Deutsche said that its Entertain and Home Gateway in the home will become hubs for media, entertainment, and home automation, which we can take to mean that it will try to get more equipment and services directly into German homes. But it may also look to offer OTT. It also said that it was on track to become the market leader in Germany’s pay TV market though we can’t see how. At present that role goes to cable company Kabel Deutschland, with around 9 million homes (it reports next week) and to Sky Deutschland and the 4 million plus homes in Unity Media, now owned by Liberty Global. Germany right now is a cable and DTH market and to turn it into a market dominated by IPTV will surely take decades.

DT reported that it now has 1,042,000 IPTV customers as of September 30 compared to 971,000 last quarter, and 678,000 a year earlier. That means it is adding around 24,000 new homes a month, fast progress in any territory, around 6,000 a week, though nowhere near as fast as say AT&T in the US. Germany has around 31.5 million pay TV homes, out of a total of 35 million TV homes. So just another 30 million for Deutsche Telekom to get. At the current rate it will never dent the existing suppliers. Which is perhaps why in other countries, in particular in Slovakia, it has experimented with satellite DTH and now in its report says that it will continue to invest in this technology alongside IPTV.

That may count as a major change in direction and could lead to a set of services outside of its German network footprint, which consist of an OTT offering alongside DTH. In the past Deutche Telekom had acquired major ISPs in leading European territories like Spain and France, but has since sold these, after failed attempts to turn them into IPTV services. Now it seems like it needs to go OTT to achieve its Europe-wide TV ambitions.

Deutsche said in its report that it had launched several quad-play packages in a number of European countries and has TV offerings in countries such as Romania, Croatia and Slovakia (where it has both IPTV and DTH), but funnily it never mentioned IPTV in Hungary, one of the few ISPs which it kept after investing it with a full Microsoft Mediaroom system. Is that system even still running? You wouldn’t know it from the company’s reporting.

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