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Latest Satellite News Discussion, J:Com: more HD, 3D, against 'severe' backdrop at General Satellite News forum; Written by Rose Major Thursday, 28 January 2010 10:08 KDDI will have known the figures already before agreeing the purchase, ...

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J:Com: more HD, 3D, against 'severe' backdrop
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J:Com: more HD, 3D, against 'severe' backdrop - 28-January-2010, 19:28

Written by Rose Major
Thursday, 28 January 2010 10:08

KDDI will have known the figures already before agreeing the purchase, but others got a look yesterday at what it had agreed to buy, when Japanese MSO Jupiter Telecommunications (J:Com), which Liberty Global is selling to KDDI, revealed its 2009 results.
What is revealed is a cable operator just managing to grow in a “stagnant pay multi-channel broadcast market” with a “weak economy in the background”. And the operating environment "is becoming more and more severe in the intense competition among major telecommunications and related companies".
J:Com continues to focus on improving programming quality, placing “considerable weight” on its content strategy. The company plans to provide a new line-up of high-definition programs through the recently-consolidated (in October 2009) J Sports Broadcasting Corp. Three J Sports channels, plus ESPN, will all be converted to HDTV broadcasts.
Also in J:Com’s sights is 3D content, set for “spring 2010” which is likely to mean Q2. “From a product perspective, the J:Com Group will introduce such new and attractive services as 3-D programming content as it works diligently toward addressing customer needs,” the company’s results statement said.
This month, the operator will introduce a Blu-ray hard disk recorder.
Subscribers grew by 3% over the year, up 107,400 to 3,274,800. Cable TV subs were up just 2%, or 41,600 to 2,598,600. However, digital TV subs rose by 351,000 (18%) to 2,348,400 and now account for 90% of all cable TV subscribers compared to 78% at end-2008. High-speed internet and telephony subscribers are faring better, up 7% and 12% respectively to 1,584,900 and 1,763,100 homes respectively.
ARPU remains a problem for J:Com as it seeks to grow by acquisition. Total ARPU declined by 63 to 7,726, but excluding the impact of newly-acquired systems, ARPU increased 30 to 7,819.
Revenues, which grew 13.4% in 2009 to reach 333,724 million are forecast to total 357,000 million for 2010. On the earnings front, J:Com is projecting operating income up from 2009’s 61,159 million (2008: 53,675 million) to 66,500 million; and net income of 32,500, up from 2009’s 30,453 (2008: 27,964 million).
The company is hoping to capture new subscribing homes as the switch to digital-terrestrial broadcasting gathers pace ahead of the July 2011 analogue switch-off date. The group has “placed considerable weight on efforts to capture the estimated 1,150,000 unconnected communal reception households within its service area by providing retransmission service of terrestrial broadcasts using J:Com Group network,” said J:Com’s results statement. It continued: “During the fiscal year under review, buoyed by negotiations with several firms, the Company successfully contracted for approx. 540,000 households to deliver terrestrial retransmission service. The J:Com group promotes pay services including retransmission digital service to these communal reception households.”
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