Twelve subscription TV companies and two leaders, SuperCable and Cabletel, the development of distributed cable market, with positive expectations for economic recovery times that are advertised. 1997 and 1998 years will be key.

The late entry of Venezuela into the world of pay television, has enabled this country to have an edge over others in Latin America, today wiring that crosses the nation has advanced technology, competitive until 2020 and ready to provide services digital television, interactivity, value added and telephony. The limits are set only by state policies on telecommunications.

There are fourteen companies operating in Venezuela subscription system, and ten or twelve are in the process of legalization before the National Telecommunications Commission, Conatel. The pioneers of cable television were Omnivisión and Cablevision, about five years ago. They work with the MMDS system, via microwave.

Of the fourteen legal operators ten work with the cable system and concentrate much of their energies on advancing the coverage areas of higher population density. Cabletel SuperCable and they stand by advancing and positioning they have achieved so far.

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SuperCable It has the first license, 001, and authorization for national coverage. Starting from Caracas where 40% of its key market is concentrated, the company has advanced in the difficult geography of the city to reach large areas, sectors of the upper middle class and middle class most densely populated, allowing you to earn about 40 thousand subscribers . His expectation for this year is to reach 100 thousand. Besides Caracas, the company managed to extend its network broadcast up to six cities: San Antonio de los Altos, Puerto La Cruz / Barcelona, ​​Puerto Ordaz, Maturin and Maracay. To 1997, SuperCable the plans to enter three or four cities, but the ultimate goal is national coverage in major population centers. "We are working with a network of 750 Mhz, based on fiber optics, allowing a lot of analog, eighty channels, and in the future with digital technology could be five hundred to a thousand," says Ahmad Khamsi, enthusiastic president SuperCable, a man with extensive experience in the middle of international television. "In addition, our buildings and pipelines (make this huge investment), are designed to expand to other services when we have permission Conatel." The project is SuperCable Andino, not only in Venezuela. The US partner, Adelphia Communications, is one of the leading cable TV in that country, and the other Andean capital. We are licensed value added in Colombia and begin operations soon. Four years ago there is a person developing the permitology".

SuperCable offers 52 international channels, plus national 7 arriving well into sharp home. This year we hope to reach 70.

Cabletel, towards the lower strata

Company Cable TV Corp., better known by its trade name CabletelHe has made great efforts towards sectors with lower purchasing power in the Caracas city and take their growth expectations calmly say Alberto Arapé, director of the company, currently in recess while holding the presidency of the Venezuelan Chamber of Television subscription, Cavetesu.

Cabletel defined long ago that was west of the city according to the following criteria strategic order:

1. West dense sectors make it attractive to business; 2. Until the arrival of Cabletel there was a sufficient supply that pleased the needs of that market; 3. This will allow us to ensure contact with dense commercial and financial sectors, to offer in the future, not only cable TV, but value-added services and telephony in the year 2000.

The tremendous insecurity in the sector that keeps people in their homes, the concentration of people per housing unit, and the fact that many of them are already consolidated and paid, are also incentives for the company. They Cabletel been presented a financial offer, based on 25 most viewed channels. "

Cabletel currently works with a hybrid network of coaxial cable and fiber optic 550 Mhz. But among his plans for the year 97 are modular in 750 enter Mhz and start providing Internet service. Its nodes are designed for bidirectional, ready to offer interactive services, voice and data. "We have had a conservative growth -anota Alberto Arapé- close the 96 10 with thousand subscribers and this year we close with approximately 25 thousand".

Cabletel fundamental partners are the third US cable operator, Comcast International, and Venezuelan entrepreneurs Zubillaga Group. Also this, among other minority shareholders, the Wave International group with recognized expertise in the area of ​​telecommunications; "They have an advisory and comptroller function, because the company is managed with Venezuelan engineering."

The regulatory scenario

Cable television in Venezuela is regulated by a law of 1991 and is affected by the difficult economic conditions being experienced by the country. Facing a controlled environment and unfavorable exchange parity against the dollar today entrepreneurs are more optimistic show, due to the positive results beginning to be observed in the economy following the implementation of the adjustment plan. Khamsi has been pronounced by the expectation of strong growth in the cable industry in Venezuela for years 97 and 98.

In the last two years, Cavetesu, has corresponded give you two great struggles for existing cable operators. However, the contradictions of competition and growth in an environment with no clear rules no longer observed. The first achievement has been to remove the competition on television at least until 2000, the CANTV, which was privatized company that holds a monopoly on telephony until 99, and which has been known intend to go into business. On the other hand, he has been responsible for combating the luxury tax that was assigned by the government sector and in 20%, which pushed the price of subscriptions. To this end it has been due to sustained battles within the National Congress with winning results.

As the contradictions do not escape this process has been the public dispute regarding the development of wiring in the capital. The companies themselves have made large investments required for expansion of the network, so you have full authority over its ductwork, an issue that have challenged companies like Cabletel.

The interior has its network

Other companies are also moving more reserved in the development of new networks. One, Communications Centurion, under the trade name Caracas Live TV, begins to cover halfway between the microwave and cable the city center. Another company, Proseqal, directs its efforts towards the center of the country, declaring a 22.000 subscribers in the plains states.

Intercable makes its investment in the Lara-Merida area to the west, with 12 thousand subscribers and think spread to surrounding states. Ultravisión, under the direction of Alejandro Fuenmayor, lines up his immediate plans to Caracas and bedrooms cities. 55 currently have contracted channels. Your license is national in scope. Other companies that also work on the many pristine areas of cable television, are Parabólicas Caracas, Parabolic Service and Satvenca.

It is estimated that the universe of subscribers in the country currently stands at the 200 thousand. The powerful presence of Direct TV has come to change, however, the picture substantially. Everyone recognizes in this company to a strong competitor, however, they see in their technology limitations of the directionality, the viewer can not interact with the satellite. "It's a tremendous competitor assures Arapé of Cabletel- and will force everyone to find their niche markets, pushing us to use our services thoroughly and signal quality." Meanwhile, Khamsi of SuperCable sentence: "Direct TV will be successful especially in low-density areas, but in areas where the cable comes represents a costly investment, prices and products can not compete with us."

All the pirates

It was notorious ten years throughout the country, especially in Caracas, the emergence of satellite dishes mushrooming on buildings and villas. With the advent of pay television the legal situation begins to overturn and businesses are organizing to defend the copyright of the channels they represent.

"There is a huge volume of piracy is not currently controlled by the authorities or by Conatel and undermine legitimate industry cable TV, says Khamsi. SuperCable, Direct TV and HBO Latin America have joined together with the Motion Picture Association of America in a joint agreement, to respect copyright applies. currently, an alliance between the companies, the Venezuelan Institute of Representations Motion picture and Anti-piracy Division of the Technical Judicial Police work in detecting the instigators of piracy and developing awareness campaigns. it was extended to illegal suppliers condominiums and retransmit subscribed channels on US soil phenomenon. decoders are exported with permission only US investigations are prior to conducting prosecutions step.

Author: Latin Press



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