There are nearly 70 million cable homes in Europe, comprising more than a third of all television households. However, the number of video subscribers has remained relatively flat. Liberty Global, the largest cable group, saw a loss of 36,700 video customers across its continuing operations in Europe in the third quarter.
Figures published by Cable Europe and IHS Markit show that there were 69.2 million cable homes at the end of 2017, which is 36.3% of all television households.
However, the number of homes subscribing to cable television in Europe has been flat or falling slightly over the last five years.
Meanwhile the number of internet subscriptions on cable has risen, increasing total revenue generating units, including television, telephony and internet, to 127.5 million, with homes taking an average of 1.84 services.
Total cable revenue reached €25.9 billion in 2017, up 2% compared to 2016.
The cable industry remains confident about its ability to deliver broadband services.
“Cable has the lead in next generation access subscriptions — those signing up for 30Mbps and above,” said Said Matthias Kurth, the executive chairman of Cable Europe, the European Cable Communications Association. “With the ongoing upgrades to the latest technology specification — DOCSIS 3.1 — we are set to remain frontrunners in the gigabit race.”
“The sector is growing despite the ferociously competitive nature of the market in which we operate and the enormous choice open to today’s consumers,” added Caroline van Weede, the managing director of Cable. “This speaks for itself.”
Liberty Global, the largest cable group, saw a loss of 36,700 video subscribers in Europe in the third quarter of 2018, making a loss of 120,100 in the first three quarters of the year.
The group has a total of 8.63 million cable subscribers in its continuing operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, and Switzerland. It is in the process of selling off operations in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and Romania, with a total of 8.46 million subscribers.
Virgin Media in the United Kingdom and Ireland, is the largest constituent of the group, serving 5.9 million cable customers. Of these, 4.17 million take enhanced video services, a number that increased by 16,300 in the third quarter.
The company has passed over half a million more homes in a year, boosted by its Project Lightning initiative. It has added on 72,400 enhanced video customers in that period and 126,500 internet subscriptions. Of the total 15.19 million homes passed by its network, Virgin Media has signed up 27% for video and 36% for internet services.