Global Crossing predicts DTH, CATV "arms race" for HDTV subscribers

Thursday, February 10, 2011

IP connectivity solutions provider Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC) envisages a sort of "arms race" between DTH and cable TV providers in Latin America to collect the largest share of high definition TV subscribers, Mike Antonovich, managing director of Global Crossing's broadcast video over IP solutions unit Genesis Solutions, told BNamericas.

In Latin America, Genesis has seen the largest growth in HDTV in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, initially due to the presence of DTH satellite platforms that can launch new HD channels quickly.

However, cable TV multiple systems operators (MSOs) have responded quickly with a mix of HDTV consumers divided between DTH satellite and CATV distribution, Antonovich said.

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"Neither market wants to cede the high-value, higher-demographic HDTV subscriber to the other; it's sort of an HDTV arms race to collect the largest share of HD subscribers. We supply channels and capacity to both of them and will be a prime beneficiary as the thirst for HD content increases," the executive said.

Global Crossing announced this week that Genesis had started offering broadcast and media services in Latin America with solutions available in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela and the Caribbean.

The company said the Latin American region represents a vast market opportunity for sports, entertainment and event programming, especially as it prepares to host the 2011 Pan American games in Mexico and the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.


Quoting Cisco Systems' (Nasdaq: CSCO) Visual Networking Index, Antonovich said 3D and HD internet video is expected to comprise 46% of consumer internet video traffic by 2014.

"Driving this are social and demographic trends that create opportunities in this segment. As people move around the world for work and pleasure, their interests and cultures move with them."

"This creates an ever-increasing demand for the movement of video around the planet, and the media richness is driving these requirements to global fiber-based network solutions, where Global Crossing holds unique capabilities and a significant competitive advantage," the executive said.

According to market research company Dataxis, the number of HDTV subscribers in Latin America increased from 215,000 in 2009 to more than 3mn in 2010, a growth rate of 1,327%.

The main customers that Global Crossing will target are broadcasters, programmers and their distribution partners - DTH and CATV satellite, broadband networks and CATV MSOs.

According to Antonovich, the increase in IPTV services will open up an additional channel, but there is plenty of HDTV growth already.

He believes that the proliferation of HD and 3D video will soon outstrip the capacities of legacy technologies, making media-centric global fiber optic networks like Global Crossing's "the most viable option for broadcasters, producers and distributors."

Genesis Solutions uses a proprietary customer interface called uCommand/IRIS, which provides on-demand capability, giving customers direct access and control over their media distribution network.