Accenture and Telewest Form Joint Venture to Deliver Leading-Edge Interactive Broadband Services

NEW YORK and LONDON, March 7, 2000 -- Accenture, a leading global management and technology consultancy, and UK-based Telewest Communications, today announced the formation of a joint venture company to develop and deliver leading-edge interactive broadband communications services.

Arjang Zadeh, currently an associate partner with Accenture’s broadband solutions group, will head the London-based joint venture company and has been named acting chief executive officer. The new company will operate independently and will initially be staffed with a start-up team of 30 professionals drawn from Accenture.

The joint venture intends to develop, customize and licence innovative products and services and be at the forefront of the rapidly emerging digital communications industry. Most of the services will be offered through broadband channels over the next five years and are in varying stages of development. Full Video on Demand will be the joint venture’s first product to market, later this month. Other services to be offered by the joint venture will include interactive TV, wirefree broadband home, music pay-per-view, interactive advertising, games, information, and electronic banking.

According to a recent industry analysis by Jupiter Research, one in three homes in Western Europe - approximately 50.8 million households - will receive digital television by 2003, compared with less than one in 10 in 1999. Accenture’s own research estimates that the market for the new company’s services in Europe alone is worth over $11.05 billion (£7 billion). The company intends to build revenue growth quickly and may offer shares to the public at some future date.

Telewest is both a part owner and the first customer of the joint venture company. The relationship between Telewest and Accenture has grown out of the work Accenture has done with Telewest to help design its digital interactive platform.

Potential worldwide customers of the new company include cable operators, telecommunications operators, digital terrestrial operators and satellite operators. The joint venture will benefit from the Accenture’s knowledge capital and the relationships it has built with traditional industry leaders as well as new and emerging market participants.

"This is an explosive growth market. CEOs of major network companies know that broadband interactive services are crucial to their future success," said Zadeh. "I am very excited about this opportunity and believe that we have the ability to lead in this market."

"This joint venture will unleash the full potential of broadband services for Telewest and other operators," said Tony Illsley, chief executive of Telewest. "Today’s announcement provides us with technological leadership as we continue to be first to UK consumers with new broadband services".

Added Chris Cowan, partner in the Communications & High Tech unit of Accenture: "This venture is a further illustration of our strategy to accelerate delivery of broadband services both in Western Europe, and in the longer term, North America and Asia."

About Telewest

Telewest Communications is Britain’s leading integrated broadband communications company. Telewest’s broadband cable networks now pass more than 4.6 million homes, with more than 1.5 million households choosing Telewest for their multi-channel television, telephone and Internet services. In the business sector Telewest’s voice and data telecommunications links are used by over 54,000 companies and other public and private sector organisations. Revenues for the nine months ended 30 September, 1999, were £576 million ($909.2 million), up 14.7 per cent from 1998. In the same period earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 33.3 per cent to £165 million ($260.4 million). Telewest’s ordinary share capital is listed on the London Stock Exchange and on the US NASDAQ National Market System.


Roxanne Taylor

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David S. Martin

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