IPTV helps Bell Canada parent mitigate wireline losses in Q2

A growing IPTV business is helping Bell Canada's parent company BCE (NYSE: BCE) offset a declining legacy wireline business, the carrier's second quarter earnings indicate. Even more surprising, to some extent, the carrier said that IPTV is attracting more consumers to its broadband Internet high-speed data services.

BCE reported that its Fibe TV IPTV service added 38,477 net new subscribers--a 168 percent increase over the 14,367 adds of the year-ago quarter. The Fibe TV footprint now covers more than 2.4 million households, which is double the 1.2 million homes that were covered during the second quarter of 2011. BCE predicted that it would have about 3.3 million Fibe TV-ready households by the end of the year.

The carrier said that its overall wireline revenue was down 3.9 percent from the same period a year ago to come in at CAD 2.53 million (USD 2.55 million) based on "the continued decline in traditional voice and data services and ongoing promotional discounting and aggressive competitive pricing on residential services." At the same time, BCE pointed out that "TV revenue growth driven by steadily increased Fibe TV penetration, higher IP broadband connectivity revenues and increased data product sales to business customers moderated this decline."

BCE said its Bell Aliant Regional Communications suffered a similar fate with revenues down 0.7 percent to CAD 687 million (USD 693 million), although, "The continued decline of Bell Aliant's legacy voice business was offset partly by higher revenues from growth in Internet, data, TV and wireless," the carrier noted.

The Fibe TV increases also reflected on the carrier's satellite business which saw fewer subscriber gains as customers transitioned from dishes to IPTV as the service became available in their communities.

Interestingly, BCE noted that Bell Internet's growth was being "driven by pull-through from Fibe TV and increased adoption of Fibe Internet packages."

"The Bell team continues to execute our customer-focused growth strategy across all services leveraging our multi-billion-dollar investments in the latest broadband networks to deliver next-generation mobile, TV and Internet services and the best content across every screen," BCE/Bell Canada President-CEO George Cope said in an earnings news release. "Bell is bringing broadband innovation, expanded choice and enhanced competition to Canadian communications, and these strong results—including exceptional wireless performance, continued fast growth in Bell Fibe TV and industry-leading performance at Bell Media—show it's clearly a strategy with momentum."

For more:
- see this news release

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