back to article Eurozone crisis hits pay TV: Punters pick broadband over telly

As Norway's GET cable company puts up a "for sale" sign, it demonstrates that the pay TV scene in Europe is starting to realise a home truth – and it may take something as big as the Eurozone crisis to prove it – that pay TV is NOT as resilient as broadband, which continues to grow in the Eurozone. You cannot apply for a job …


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  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Pay TV < Broadband

    For more information, see icon.

  2. Pen-y-gors

    Not surprising

    I can never understand why people complain about paying £150 a year for a TV licence to pay for the beeb - but don't seem to look at what the alternatives cost. Sky starts at £250 a year, if you want the souped up bundles including movies or sport it's £500+ and the full monty of hd+sport+movies+"entertainment" is nearly EIGHT HUNDRED QUID! What kind of loony pays that?

    Fingers crossed that people start getting their priorities right and stop giving money to Murdoch.

    1. ridley

      Re: Not surprising

      You are wrong about one thing it is not nearly £800 it is in fact nearly £900. Who pays this? My car cost less than that ;-)

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Not surprising

        The comparison is always with the US which is actually the odd one out in not having a licence fee, which was pioneered in Britain but quickly adopted elsewhere as a compromise between some notional degree of state control (no media free for all or digital tabloids) and limited state interference (the government doesn't make the programmes).

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Licence fee

          We don't have a licence fee here in Aus and guess what? The TV here is utter shit. The only decent stuff is BBC/C4 imports and the Euro films on SBS. I've given up on watching TV in the conventional sense.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Trygve

            Re: Licence fee

            Your experience exactly mirrors my own, right down to only watching BBC for Montalbano, Wallander and The Bridge - and I live in the UK, which does have a license fee. It's all very confusing.

    3. Marty

      Re: Not surprising - but choice

      its a matter of choice....

      if you chose to subscribe to sky, then that is your choice. it your television viewing habits include sky then you pony up your money. I hate having to pay for the beeb,when the only program i watch on the beeb is Top gear. If it was a matter of choice I would not pay for the beeb.

      It gets on my nerves when people say paying for sky tv is putting the money in Murdoch's pocket. So what, he may be a arrogant slimy man, but at the end of the day, he heads up the company that holds all the cards for pay tv in the UK.... It was his money that was invested in the first place, he risked a lot to get his return... I still dont like the man, but the choice is non existent !!

      when OFCOM tried to make things even, all it did was cost me more money. I used to pay £50 for all the PPV premiership football. ofcom poked their nose in and now if I want to watch all premiership matches I

      have to pay £120 a year for ESPN, £70 more than I would have done if ofcom had kept the beaks out....

      1. S4qFBxkFFg

        You probably don't have to pay it.

        Copy/pasted from another site:

        It may or may not be a tax, but the important thing is that it's voluntary.

        I have no TV, and no licence (TVL) either (although neither of those facts necessarily implies the other).

        Some (possibly) interesting facts:

        Most of what is on broadcast TV is available on iplayer, or similar services.

        Having a TV without a TVL is perfectly legal.

        Watching recorded programmes on a TV without a TVL is perfectly legal.

        Only watching TV programmes as they are being broadcast requires a TVL.

        Letters demanding purchase of a TVL are full of descriptions of fines, court appearances and make much use of the words "could", "may", "up to", and "possibly"; but very rarely words such as "will", "at least", and "certainly".

        The "enforcers" who go door-to-door to addresses without a TVL have no right to force entry to buildings - if they are told to go away, they should. (A better response is probably "No thank you, I don't need one." or something similar.)

        Their questions have no legal requirement to be answered.

        They receive commission on every TVL they sell.

        To actually enter a building without the consent of its owners or residents they need to have the police with them.

        They cannot do this without evidence that TV is being watched as it is being broadcast at that address. This evidence could be as trivial as something stupid admitted by one of the occupants in response to insistent questioning.

        In summary, you probably don't need to pay for a TV Licence.

        1. Homer 1
          Big Brother

          Re: You probably don't have to pay it.

          The letter of the law may say that you don't have to pay a TV license if you don't actually watch broadcast TV, but if you'd ever had to deal with the persistent harassment and (albeit veiled) threats from the TVLA, you'd understand why so many people just pay-up anyway.

          The BBC's "collection agency" operates like gangsters (and yes, I speak from first-hand experience).

    4. Homer 1
      Big Brother

      Re: Not surprising

      I agree with not handing money to Dirty Digger, but just to correct you on one crucial point: the £800 (actually nearer to £900) per annum is not an "alternative" to the BBC Tax, it's an addition, which actually makes the total over a grand.

      Meanwhile, I wouldn't pay even a single penny of any of the junk that passes for TV "entertainment" these days. There's the real issue. Well, that, and the obligatory nature of the BBC Tax, and the insidious manner in which it's "collected".

  3. Robert E A Harvey

    Not the medium, the message

    If the programme material on TV were anywhere near as interesting as the things on the world wide wibble, then perhaps revenues would not be so vulnerable.

    People aren't paying for the wires, or the method of transmission, they are paying for the content. If it ain't worth the money, they will stop paying.

    1. illiad

      Re: Not the medium, the message

      the content?? supporters may want you to think that... (in UK) but the law says you only have to have a TV , it does not matter if you have not switched it on for a month.... :/

      Detector vans??? nope, they got you when you bought the TV, or when you last paid the license...:) a few stories about police getting a search, to find no TV anywhere!! :)

      As for TV vs Broadband... It was tried, but failed due to problems with licenses for good content, that effectively starved it of an audience.. go ahead, just try to find a *full* episode of startek, farscape, stargate, friends, etc... LEGALLY!!!! :)

      The majority want all their soaps, quizzes, etc, I dont see that getting on the internet that quickly...

      1. Oldfogey
        Big Brother

        Re: Not the medium, the message

        The old myth again.

        You do not have to have a licence to own a TV.

        You do not need a licence to watch pre-recorded shows (DVD/VHS)

        You do not need a licence to use iPlayer.

        You only need a licence to watch TV as it is broadcast.

        Read the BBC website. It is very clear on this, as was the last, very polite, letter I received from TV Licencing, asking whether my circumstances had changed and I might now need a licence.

        So many myths, so much nonsense.

        1. Brad Ackerman

          Re: Not the medium, the message

          iPlayer does now offer live TV, for which you need a license. (Catch-up is still no-license-required, of course.)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "the German public, with one of the only growing economies in the Euro zone, are now looking for a quality TV experience."

    Yeah, with Sky trying to dominate the market there too, the Germans are heading for a quality TV experience for sure.

    Not good quality, mind you.

    If folk in the home of Sky (that's the UK) want to see what German TV is like today, point your LNB back to where analogue Sky used to be (19E), and have a look.

    Yes there's already all the usual ITV-style stuff, and indeed Sky-style stuff, but mostly without the Sky-style prices (mostly for free). And for the moment at least, the German public broadcasters still produce some of the kind of stuff that the BBC used to be known for and proud of, the kind of stuff you just don't get on Sky.

    Quality TV experience my a***.

    1. peterm3
      Thumb Up

      Re: Germany?

      The public service broadcasters in the Germany, ARD and ZDF produce some of the highest quality television in the world. No sign of dumbing down, in fact the output on BR-alpha is degree-lecture stuff!

      Also noteworthly is that adverts are allowed before and after news bulletins. Also many series like Tatort are sponsored. Maybe the BBC should consider that to help meet its funding gap?

      Probably Germany is not such a growth market after all, there is already enough quality free to view content. The comercial channels show popular stuff for free, and even Eurosport Germany is free to view.

      Not sure what you would need to pay for, maybe films, but that could easily move to direct streaming / downloads without the need for a TV company.

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Who wrote this tripe?

    Ideally the Telenor and GET homes should be merged into a single viable cable operator, owning 878,000 pay TV homes, out of the 2.2 million total TV homes in Norway and the 1.6 million pay TV homes, but of course Norway's regulator could not agree a deal like that, which would cede over 50 per cent of the pay TV market to a single company.

    What is ideal about such a merger? How would customers or content makers benefit?

    And it is this impossibility of getting a solution to the Pay TV balance in Scandinavia that legislates...

    What? Scandinavia is not a legal entity; Norway is not in the EU which complicates cross-border deals; oh, and how the fuck can an "impossibility" ever draught laws?

    The company is just a few weeks away from completing on its deal to spend $4 billion on its second German cable operator Kabel BW, and although it has also sold its stake in Austar for $1.1 billion in Austra- lia, the company has a reputation for buying cheap rising assets and selling not expensive falling assets, not the other way around, and with the prevalent low ARPU in Poland, this would be buying more trouble, and we don‟t see it, not unless any particular cable assets be- comes extremely stressed, not unlikely with the current debt scarcity, and sell for almost nothing.

    Let's ignore the lack of clarity about spending and debt ratio throughout the article, though Liberty Media's debt to cash ratio does sound alarming, and concentrate on this single, breathless stream of thoughtlessness, sentence. Do we think the author ever read it back to himself? If he did, he might have noticed the hyphens left in from the press release.

    Back to the facts: the Polish economy is doing well and a low ARPU might be expected to rise. The German economy has been doing very well but is due to cool a bit. Not, that that the state of the economy has much to do with pay-tv subscriptions, which have held up pretty well in America and Italy. Sky has invested heavily in Germany, particularly in the rights for football and is gambling that Germans are as keen to pay to watch football as the Brits. A theory that has yet to be demonstrated in 20 odd years of practice. The ramifications of the EU ruling on showing matches licensed for one country in another must also be factored into this equation.

    In fact Germany, like Scandinavia, has good broadband which is constantly getting better (50 MB/s will soon be entry-level in cities) which favours a more fragmented OTT pay-per-view model over the plethora of hard to distinguish me-too cable channels. Convenience and cost-control over choice.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Who wrote this tripe?

      Agreed. This was a pretty terrible article. It smacks of a reference piece written for a lobbying group.

    2. Gordon 10

      Re: Who wrote this tripe?

      Some good points.

      What is it about cable tv operators that leads them to take on huge levels of debt? It's not as if they are a real utility.

      Is there any cable co in the Europe actually expanding their use base by cabling up new areas or are they all owned by VC's whose only skill is convincing banks to help them start leveraged buyouts?

      1. illiad

        Re: Who wrote this tripe?

        Looks like a hopeful businessman. believing the hype, gets all the stuff going, finds it not as popular as it was claimed, and customers wont pay more, or just leave....

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Instant feedback short attention spans

    The web offers immediate interaction for a wide swathe of people where as TV is pre-packed gobbets of mind fodder in varying levels of banality aimed at demographics.

    If someone uses a word or term I don't understand on TV it may float by on a wave of mind-neutral "input only mode" stare, if someone refers to something on the net I can instantly search and learn (hopefully).

    In some ways the move towards global interaction and letting the user know they have both a voice and a value (OK if they can get together with enough others) must be a good thing for the wider humanity if not the pedlars of content free content.

    I don't have a TV, didn't have one most of my life until convinced to give it a go for couple of years, horrible mess adverts noise and nausea inducing camera work.

    I've been wrong on a lot of stuff and half the reason I know that is instead of watching TV I respond to forums and get instant feedback, with TV it is quite possible to believe it's normal to have a murder every other week and that everyone has to shout in personal relationships (ref to most soaps)

    It is unfortunate if that is your business but humanity is always at risk of evolution and business plans should perhaps recognise that.

    I'm not saying the web is a guarantee of human progress, it just puts the possibility closer than the TV remote.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    how else are you going to send your CV

    In the post?

    Or don't people open envelopes any longer?

    1. Aldous

      Re: how else are you going to send your CV

      but then how can they trace you via email address to your facebook/twitter/furriesfor911truth forums etc

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: how else are you going to send your CV

        Good luck to anyone tracking me on FB/TW/UT and email services such as Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo

        I deliberately only use one of the email service and that is only for signup emails. That also gets all the spam.

        You can exist on the internet and be pretty anonymous. I'm also fairly lucky in that there are a number of more prominent people in my country with the same name as me.

        If any prospective employer asks me why they can't find anytnig out about me in the internet, I'll answer honestly and say that is how I want it. If they want to know anything about me they only need to ask.

  8. The Mighty Spang
    Thumb Down

    pay tv? why would anybody do that

    and not just because of pirating, but after you pay for it, there are adverts every 10 mins. and then they stick crap on the screens when you are watching it.

    for example i'm watching season 2 of falling skies (yes dodgily I know. apart from bbc4 on iplayer that is pretty much about it). I can barely do that for the giant bright logo in the bottom corner (excellent for a show that mainly takes place in the dark) and giant pop up adverts for other shows that appear. Even if I had no other opertunity to get that content without paying, with ads and logos and crap im not paying. i dont pay to watch a f*cking advert and its only because there are so many dullards with nothing to do (they think) except watch tv there is never going to be enough of a rebellion of people cancelling off short of mass piracy.

    economics of everything to do with this stuff is screwed up now. single tv show buying costs are too high compared say taking a subscription out. well i dont want a subscription so your show price is too high compared to other stuff i can do with my life.

    production costs have escalated because of indy production companies owning the talent and 'the talent' will only work through the production company (who are their agents and managers etc) who then overcharge for production and take a nice slice out of every level of a programmes budget. the bbc was broken up to give more stuff to indys many years ago to take the power out of the beeb and keep costs low, unfortuntaly they've created a monster that means despite video technology getting hugely cheaper all the time, there is less money to invest in decent product.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Single show pricing

      Prices have escalated not because of independent production but simple because of increased competition thinning out the TV audience and depressing advertising. The result is a mixture of cheap advert-laden tat and higher-priced success. Whether the high cost of success is because of the people who own the ideas or the because of the cost of "talent" doesn't matter. The only way to keep the costs down would be a cartel (see US sports with salary caps) or monopoly.

      As for single show purchases:

      John will pay #1 for A and #10 for B. Jane will pay #10 for A and #1 for B.

      A and B price #10. Income #20, 2 transactions

      A and B price #1. Income #4, 4 transactions

      A and B #1 and #10 WLOG. Income #12, 3 transactions.


      A+B price #11. Income #22, 2 transactions.

      Single-show pricing leads to higher prices because it's more profitable to charge higher prices. Bundling and subscription give lower prices because they overcome the key problem of selling large volumes of low-priced goods to different people at the different prices they're willing to pay. Things like sports channels and movie channels get bundled up in separate packages because they are more polarizing.

      Special bundles will happen because they

  9. Arctic fox

    I am not surprised that they almost can't give it away.................

    ................I've seen Norwegian TV! (See my handle). On a more curious note I realise now that I and my good lady have been seriously radical and ahead of the curve for once -:P. We have not bothered with the Telly for several years now. The only reason we have the service available is that the cable company (Canal Digital) won't supply you with a broadband connection unless you buy the basic telly package as well. Our Sammy in the living room is our home cinema screen and a monster pc monitor - I honestly cannot remember the last time we actually used it as a TV.

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Free Radicals ...... Marshalling CHAOS for AI and New Orderly Worlds?!.

    Do you think the punters are realising that pay TV is for subprime brain addling rather than stealthy brainwashing/sublime programming. Whenever your view of the world and existence is based upon that which is produced and presented in television programs, which are very convenient remote control projects for the fundamentally illiterate, is umpteen channels of repeat garbage bound to result in ignorant mayhem and political chaos.

    And is that not exactly where y'all are right now? Is that not what global news is telling you every day? Or is IT/Or you just not smart enough yet to see it/understand how simply the System works to provide you with its needs and feeds, which appears to be executive ignorance to server administrative arrogance?

    Alternative Internet Media Supply from CyberSpace BaseD IDEntities …. Beings IntelAIgently Designed …… recognise the process and stream information and novel intelligence into piped channels for lead with virtual meme replacement of fixed state players with non state actors and Great Gamers …… which you might like to comprehend and accept are as Real SMART ARGonauts.

    And your disbelief and/or inability to progress rapidly into Virtual Field Command and Control of Computers and Communications in Creative CyberSpace, renders you as mere titanic spectators to colossal future events.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imagine paying for TV


  12. Andy 27

    Norway not in the EU

    The article is based on a wrong premises:

    Norway is not part of the Eurozone and not even part of the EU and isn't suffering from any economic crisis, in fact their economy is doing quite well.

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