News summary for 11/01/07
Rogers turns in a handsome Q3
By Brian Santo
Rogers Communications’  revenue was up 13 percent from the like quarter a year ago to $2.6 billion, and its net profit increased 75 percent from last year to $269 million.
Rogers prospered with four services: wireless, voice, data and video. The company added a net 195,000 wireless subscribers to surpass 7 million total; Rogers added 171,000 in Q3 2006.
VoIP subscribership increased by 81,000, for a running total of 590,000. Rogers is slowly migrating subscribers from its circuit-switched phone service; it said that 7,800 of the net additions were customers migrating from the company’s own circuit-switched service.
Internet subscribers grew by 55,000 to a total of 1,418,500. Internet penetration is 62 percent of basic cable households, and 40 percent of homes passed.
Basic cable subscribers increased by 9,100 to a total of 2,275,400 and digital cable households increased by 54,800 to reach a total of 1,291,800, the company reported. Digital penetration is now up to 57 percent.
Profits in broadband and video were up, due largely to an increase in subscribers, and in part to price increases in both services. The price increases in broadband were offset by a larger proportion of customers electing to subscribe to the lowest speed tiers.
CenturyTel increases revenues, subscribers in Q3
By Traci Patterson
CenturyTel Inc.  added 190,000 high-speed Internet customers in Q3 2007 - a 56 percent increase year-on-year - bringing its total Internet subscribers to 530,000.
CenturyTel ended the quarter with 2.2 million access lines in service, up from 2.1 million a year ago.
Net income was $108.1 million, an increase of 39 percent compared with $77.9 million in Q3 2006. Operating revenues in Q3 totaled $708.3 million, up from $619.2 million in the year-ago quarter.
In the fourth quarter, CenturyTel expects total revenues to be between $645 million and $655 million.
To prove it's not just a cable company, Bright House pins hopes on retail store
Copyright 2007 Sentinel Communications Co.
By Mark Chediak, Orlando Sentinel (Florida)
At Bright House Networks' new store on the University of Central Florida campus, students will see a living room where they can watch football on a 52-inch high-definition, flat-screen television.
They'll see a "student center" where they can play YouTube videos on a laptop with a high-speed Internet connection.
And they'll see an "interactive TV" demonstration of a service that lets users download and watch episodes of shows such as The Colbert Report.
What Bright House execs hope to see at the store - expected to open Friday - are thousands of future customers.
But to lure them, the company realizes it has to do more than promote its latest channel lineups or pricing packages. This is especially true given the stiff competition that local cable providers face from satellite-TV companies and may soon face from phone giants such as AT&T.
"This gives us the ability to show people who we are," said Michel L. Champagne, vice president of operations and general manager of the Orlando region for Bright House Networks. "It's a little bit of a branding opportunity."
Once lords of the paid television market, Bright House has been forced by an increasingly crowded field to expand beyond its core cable business. The company now sells bundled packages that include high-speed Internet and digital-phone services along with cable TV. During the summer, Bright House started selling a service that allows customers to connect to its cable, Internet and digital phone service through Sprint mobile phones.
Bright House executives recognize that some of the company's newer offerings - such as crystal-clear high-definition feeds and "on demand" video downloads - may be easier to sell if people can actually experience them.
As a result, the company's future store - in a retail strip mall next to UCF's sparkling new convocation center - is more a space where customers can sit, watch and play than a place where items are sold.
(Customers will also be able to pay bills and pick up cable and digital-video-recording boxes, and a section of the store will offer Bright House/UCF branded mugs, T-shirts and hats as well as cable and phone accessories.)
"Retail is probably a bit of a misnomer," Champagne said of the new store. "It's more just about the experience."
Increasingly, media companies are realizing the value in letting a customer test-drive a service or new technology before they buy, said James McQuivey, a media and television analyst for Forrester Research.
"There is no amount of marketing material ... that can really convey to you how great your home-theater experience could be. You have to see it," McQuivey said.
For example, Verizon Communications, which offers paid television in some of its markets, has opened "experience stores" in the Dallas and Washington, D.C., metro areas, where customers can watch high-definition video feeds on big-screen TVs and play with the company's latest high-tech gadgets.
Cable provider Comcast Corp. has partnered with retailers Best Buy, Circuit City and Wal-Mart to sell its television services in certain markets including parts of Central Florida.
McQuivey said these companies are following in the footsteps of Apple, which has demonstrated the marketing power of its retail concept, where customers are encouraged to listen to iPods, test out Macs and play with an iPhone in the store.
Typically, such a store is considered as more of a marketing tool than a place to do a lot of sales volume, McQuivey said. But the ultimate effect ends up helping the bottom line, he said.
"Nothing sells like an experience," McQuivey said.
Broadband Briefs for 11/01/07
* EGT a preferred vendor for NCTC’s video encoders
By Traci Patterson
EGT  has been named a preferred vendor for the National Cable Television Cooperative’s  (NCTC) Encore and Quartet video encoders. The NCTC is a programming and hardware purchasing cooperative for operators in the U.S.
EGT’s video processors enable cable operators to deliver more channels of content using less bandwidth, as well as reduce rack space and power requirements, eliminate the need for ancillary equipment and allow for future application flexibility.
* Entone’s Hydra chosen for HickoryTech’s IPTV rollout
By Traci Patterson
Hydra can deliver multiple video streams over a single DSL or Ethernet connection using existing in-home coax cabling. The video gateway offers HD video services using MPEG-4 (H.264/AVC) compression technologies.
* ATIS defines OSS/BSS standards for IPTV
By Brian Santo
ATIS  has released a new standard for OSS/BSS in IPTV networks. “High Level OSS/BSS Functional Requirements and Reference Architecture for IPTV” (ATIS-0300092) is based on business requirements from many major telecommunications companies including Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, BT, Qwest, Level 3, TDS Telecom and U.S. Cellular.
The standard defines the requirements for the interoperability of systems and components in the IPTV operating support system (OSS) environment. It also describes a high-level reference architecture of OSS functionality for IPTV service management. The standard offers requirements and reference architecture for both OSS and Business Support System (BSS) software solutions, combining reference to both IPTV OSS and IPTV BSS in one term, “IPTV OSS.”