Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Cable Europe Parties Like its 1999

Remember the lavish, luxurious corporate functions frequently hosted by technology companies in the roaring 90’s? Tonight the European cable industry celebrated a solid year of nearly 10% growth (at least Telenet enjoyed nearly 10% growth) in an otherwise lackluster economy. The party, hosted by Telenet for delegates of the European Cable Congress in Brussels, felt more like a coming out party. The IT industry’s fascination with IPTV has finally quieted as IPTV growth has slowed over the past year and cable, evidently, has decided it is time to come out and celebrate. Perhaps the byline of the event should have been “the demise of the cable industry in Europe has been greatly exaggerated.” Telenet spared no expense, renting out the Belgian Bourse, an elegant Palladian style building – quite possibly symbolic of the solid returns the company is providing its shareholders. In cocktail conversation, a member of the Cable Europe trade association stated that ICT has become one of the most significant contributors to the EUs GDP. That would explain the guest appearance of Belgium’s Prime Minister, Yves Leterme.

The distinguished guests at the event included one of the FCC’s lead economists working on the U.S. Broadband Plan which will be presented to Congress this month. Other notables were the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) team, the sales team of the steadily growing digital rights company Irdeto, some familiar faces from OpenTV, Broadcom, management of Liberty Global and subsidiary UPC as well as the majority of European cable providers.

To further celebrate not only cable-pride but also Belgian-pride, Telenet served not only the gamut of Belgian champagnes and beers, but trotted out cuisine from two of the country’s most famous chefs, top chocolatier, and award winning latte artist (he creates images in the milk floating atop your espresso). Later in the evening the party featured fashion models sporting outfits from Belgium’s top clothing designers, and finally the pulsating sounds of Belgium’s top DJ.

When IPTV World Forum opens in London on the 23rd of this month, will we see the industry hosting such a bold celebration of success?

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