Belgacom increased its TV subscriber base by 236,000 last year, ending December with a total of 1.2 million.The Belgian telco lost some of the rights it held to broadcast Jupiler League football matches but CEO Didier Bellens said this was not longer affecting churn rates. “In 2011 we had to make some strategic choices, for which we maintained our discipline and opted not to take the easy road but to hold on to our end goal, value creation. As such we were vigilant not to overpay for Belgian football broadcasting rights. This now proves to have been the right choice since football-related churn is back to previous levels, when we had all the rights”Revenue from TV services increased 14.3% year-on-year to €208 million.Belgacom said its bundling strategy was paying off. Last year it added 219,000 multi-play subscribers, ending December with a total of 1.09 million ‘Packs’ customers.The telco reported total revenues of €6.4 billion for 2011, down 3% year-on-year.
The IBC exhibition had recorded 49,808 people through the door at 10.30 this morning, which IBC CEO Michael Crimp said was comparable with last year’s 50,462 and up on 2010. Crimp said that registrations had fallen a little behind on last year over the Olympics period, but had recovered ahead of the show. “At the end of the day we didn’t seem to be impacted by the Olympics,” he said. “However, it explains why we had a different pattern of registrations.”Crimp said that record space had been sold to exhibitors this year, which saw the introduction of a new hall, Hall 14, outside the Rai building. This introduced 6,000 sq. metres of additional space. IBC had sold 20,000 sq. metres of space for next year’s show as of last night, he said.Referring to the introduction of recording artist and Intel creative director will.i.am as a conference speaker at this year’s event, Crimp said that his session had attracted 500 viewers, filling the main conference Forum space. This year’s IBC marked the second year of the Leaders’ Summit, a closed session for media leaders, this year featuring FremantleMedia CEO Gary Carter as an after-dinner speaker.A ‘Rising Stars’ event for new entrants to the industry and students attracted 120 attendees, while the Innovation Awards had attracted a significant number of nominations from end users as well as vendors, said Crimp.Phil White, director of technology and events, highlighted Japanese broadcaster NHK’s 8K demonstration and the world premier of a movie – Hugo 3D – screened on a laser projector.IBC conference chairman Michael Lumley said this year’s show had seen the introduction of new formats, including breakfast briefings. The IBC Awards had given a genuine representation of the breadth of the industry, he said.
Adam SawickiDeutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile Polska has appointed Netia CEO Adam Sawicki as its next chief executive, effective June 1. Sawicki is currently chief exec and president of the management board at Netia, Poland’s second largest fixed line operator. In his new role he will report directly to Claudia Nemat, board member for Europe and technology at Deutsche Telekom.The appointment will see Sawicki take over from Zacharias Piperidis, who has held the T-Mobile Polska top job on an interim basis since November in addition to his role as chief operating officer at Greek telco OTE Group – in which Deutsche Telekom is the largest shareholder.Piperidis stepped in to replace Miroslav Rakowski, who left T-Mobile Polska on October 31 “upon his own request to pursue new challenges outside the Deutsche Telekom Group.”“With Adam Sawicki at the helm of T-Mobile Polska, it is clear that we have the right man to tackle the Polish telecommunications market and industry,” said Nemat.“As a former CEO of GTS Central Europe and with his extensive international experience in the business and residential markets, he is a perfect strategic fit to help us ‘lead in business’ – a key element in our company’s strategy – and integrate the GTS operations we recently acquired.”Sawicki was president of the management board and chief executive officer of Ruch Internet between 2011 and 2012 and was CEO of GTS Central Europe from 2008 to 2011.
Kenya-based Econet Media has launched a free-to-air sports channels that will offer coverage of English Premier League football as well as NBA basketball, Extreme Fighting Championship combat sports and NFL American football.The channel, Kwesé Free Sports, will be available on digital-terrestrial TV and on satellite in Kenya via free-to-air set-top boxes.The channel has exclusive free-to-air rights to air one Premier League match of the week every Saturday.Kenyan content on the channel includes Xtreme Outdoor Africa, Ball N’Africa and Sports Stars Uncovered.Econet Media is a unit of Econet Wireless, a mobile telecommunications operator founded by Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa. Masiwiya revealed at the end of last year that he was planning to launch a broader pay TV service called Kwesé TV, offering a mix of sports and entertainment programming across sub-Saharan Africa, including to mobile users.He said that the company’s satellite unit, Liquid Sat, had built a platform to deliver the service via DTH.“We are thrilled to have reached this important milestone. Our goal is to bring African viewers the very best viewing experience and we are able to provide this for free in a way that is accessible for our viewers,” said Ben Amadasun, CEO Kwesé Free Sports.“Not only will we air local content, but we will also commission the production of original work by local production companies, as part of our commitment to developing the local industry”, said Monicah Ndungu general manager of the channel.