Santa Fe, Argentina -- Argentina's independent cable
operators concentrated on survival tactics at their annual trade show, held here recently.
And with good reason.
Over the last two years, Argentina's three big MSOs
have gained control over 70 percent of the country's 5.4 million cable subscribers.
Horacio Colombini, Antec Corp.'s top executive in
Argentina, voiced the industry's concern over the future of the slow-to-act
independents. "They won't be able to compete," he forecasted.
However, Argentina's smaller operators are making
progress. Atop their agenda at the show for independent operators, Cable Encounter, was to
expand a program buying cooperative known as Sociedad Anónima de Televisión por Cable
(SATV), which enables small operators to band together to negotiate better rates from
SATV is negotiating licensing terms with several
programming suppliers. Plans call for deals with a string of basic channels, and the
creation of tiers that would include premium channels and pay-per-view programming.
SATV currently represents systems with some 300,000
customers in total. If it were a single MSO, that subscriber count would make SATV the
fourth-largest MSO in the country.