DTH operators beat expectations

NSR’s “Global Direct-to-Home (DTH) Markets, 4th Edition” study finds the DTH market continues to drive satellite demand and revenue worldwide amidst a troubling economic climate and increasing competition. DTH services utilised 950 Ku-Band 36 MHz Transponder Equivalents (TPEs) in 2010. In the same year, DTH platforms delivered almost 16,900 SD, HD, and 3D television channels to nearly 140 million subscribers, and generated over $75 billion in subscription revenues.

“Over-the-Top (OTT) Technologies are making the biggest buzz, and DTH players need to consider how these services will integrate into devices. In North America, and Western Europe, OTT services such as Hulu, Netflix, and BBC’s iPlayer are finding their way into the living room,” stated Brad Grady, NSR Analyst and Report Author. “By 2020, nearly 1 out of 2 DTH subscribers will have HD subscription packages, and 1 out of 3 subscribers will have a Digital Video Recorder (DVR),” Grady adds. “But exclusive content, HD and/or DVR services, and continued pressures on disposable income are the largest factors influencing the size and shape of the DTH market on a global basis.”

Exclusive access to drama, news, and foreign language content is important to subscribers, but sports-centric content continues to be the most popular genre. Similarly, developing and developed markets alike tell the same story when acquiring exclusive access to sports content – it’s expensive… and getting more expensive. As HD/DVR services mature, subscribers will be drawn into the content ecosystem of DTH providers through recorded content on DVR STBs and access to other subscriber-exclusive services to bolster subscription revenues.

In the developed DTH markets of North America and Western Europe, household growth remains minimal as employment hardships persist and household foreclosure rates remain above market averages for the near-term. In developing markets, TV household growth is slow as they face similar income pressures as developed markets. However given recent returns, DTH platforms across the globe appear to have discovered the right combination of package pricing and offerings to continue growth projections.

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