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Ball bounces to Spanish ONO’s board

KDG advisory board chair to advise co.'s senior management

MADRID — Former BSkyB CEO Tony Ball has joined the board of directors of Spanish cable TV operator ONO.

Ball will advise ONO’s senior management, led by prexy Eugenio Galdon and CEO Richard Alden.

While currently chair of the advisory board at Kabel Deutschland (KDG), Germany’s largest cable group, Ball is best known for heading Rupert Murdoch’s Brit satcaster BSkyB between 1999 and 2003.

There he garnered a reputation as a tough, hard-bargaining CEO who drove up subs to 7 million by 2003, and took BSkyB back into profits through an insistence on cost control and maintaining per-subscriber revenues.

ONO will be looking to this market savvy as it drives into the contents biz.

In 2005, ONO, which offers a triple-play of fixed-line telephony, Internet and TV, bought the fixed telephony and cable TV business of main triple-play rival Auna.

The merger gave ONO a nationwide reach and 900,000 cable TV subs, enough for it to pay more for TV contents. ONO has also launched a video-on-demand service.

Its main rival is Spain’s dominant telco Telefonica, rather than leading pay TV operator Sogecable.

Part of ONO’s face-off with Telefonica will be decided by the contents business, with Telefonica having launched a fast-growing Internet TV service, Imagenio.

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