Eir CEO Richard Moat: ‘Telcos are turning into media companies’

3 Nov 201622 Shares

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Eir CEO Richard Moat. Image: Eir

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If the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner is anything to go by, telcos are turning into content providers and Eir is no different, according to CEO Richard Moat.

Eir today (3 November) reported its first-quarter results, revealing a 1pc increase in revenues to €327m.

The company announced that over 53pc of its broadband customer base is connected to the company’s fibre network, and the target to have 1.9m homes passed by fibre by the end of 2018 is in sight.

‘If you look at the AT&T/Time Warner acquisition, the key reason for AT&T doing that is for exclusive content and while they are doing that on a larger scale, that is the trend that is taking place across telecoms today’
– RICHARD MOAT

The final 300,000 of these homes are going to be fibre-to-the-home connections capable of speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Rural broadband push

In its latest figures,  Eir revealed that it has a total of 867,000 broadband customers. The company also revealed over 1m mobile customers and 88pc nationwide 4G coverage.

“We are pushing into rural Ireland with fibre and expect to complete 322,000 connections, of which 300,000 are in the National Broadband intervention area,” said Richard Moat, CEO of Eir.

Moat said that a key development in the first quarter has been growth in TV customers.

The company reported 58,000 Eir Vision TV customers, up 8pc, and a 28pc uptake by consumer fibre customers.

In light of the recent proposed acquisition of Time Warner by US telecoms giant AT&T, Moat was asked if he believed telecoms companies are transitioning into media companies.

Last year, it emerged that Eir acquired Setanta for an undisclosed sum, in a deal that includes BT Sports’ Irish rights.

In the past year, Eir’s rival Virgin Media has acquired TV3 and UTV.

This competition has intensified, following the decision by Virgin to drop Eir Sport and BT Sports in favour of Sky.

Moat said that telecoms companies have to move in the direction of TV content if they wish to continue winning customers.

“A key development in this quarter has been the rebranding of Setanta as Eir Sport and we can offer exclusive content to new and existing broadband customers. You have to give reasons for people to join that they haven’t had before.

“We have 188,000 customers accessing Eir Sport and this has doubled since we acquired Setanta, and the range of exciting content we can add is compelling. For example, we have the Ireland v New Zealand game at Soldiers’ Field in Chicago, the Conor McGregor fight in New York and Munster v New Zealand Maoris at Thomond Park.”

Moat said that Eir has also appointed a new head of TV, Glen Killane, and is developing a range of new content strategies to increase customer numbers.

“TV is changing the culture of the business. We are becoming more of a media company.

“If you look at the AT&T/Time Warner acquisition, the key reason for AT&T doing that is for exclusive content and while they are doing that on a larger scale, that is the trend that is taking place across telecoms today,” Moat said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com