The pay TV industry in Western Europe will break through the 100 million subscriber mark and will avoid the fate of cord-cutting — at least for the next five years — according to a new forecast by Digital TV Research. Although the Western European market is mature, the analysts believe that the market will continue to add subscribers between 2016 and 2022. This is in contrast to what is predicted for North America, where pay TV operators are seeing declining subscriber rates as consumers increasingly opt for cheaper OTT packages.
Whilst the Western European subscriber base will only increase by 6.7 percent, it means nearly 7 million more subs to take the total to 106 million. The analysts predict that Western Europe will cross the 100 million pay TV subs mark in June this year.
Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Better news is that the number of digital pay TV subscribers will increase by 15.6% (14 million) over the same period. Analog cable subs will fall from 8.0 million in 2016 to 0.5 million in 2022.”
Much of the subscriber growth will come from countries with traditionally low pay TV penetration: two-thirds of the region’s net additions will come from Italy (up by 1.47 million or 20% between 2016 and 2022), Spain (up by 1.36 million or 23%) and France (up 1.41 million or 11%). However, subscriber growth will be lower than 3% for eight of the 18 countries covered in the report.
IPTV will add more than 8 million subscribers between 2016 and 2022, but pay satellite TV will lose nearly 1 million subs. Digital cable TV will gain 7.4 million subs, but analog cable will shed almost exactly the same number. Pay DTT will drop by 567,000 subscribers. Despite the number of pay TV homes increasing, pay TV revenues will remain flat at around $28 billion. Satellite TV will remain the most lucrative pay TV platform, but its revenues will decline by nearly $1 billion between 2016 and 2022.
Mirroring its subscriber increases, IPTV revenues will climb by 27.6% between 2016 and 2022 to $5.87 billion – or up by $1.27 billion. Digital cable TV revenues will grow by $0.71 billion, but analog cable revenues will decline by $1.13 billion. Liberty Global, Sky and Vodafone will together account for 42% of the region’s pay TV subscribers by 2022. The same companies will take 53% of pay TV revenues.