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Satellite TV to remain robust despite OTT threat

A report from research and consultancy firm NSR finds that, despite increasing concerns about OTT video, the linear TV via satellite market will continue to show solid growth. By 2024 the market will see an increase of over 21,000 channels across both DTH and video distribution platforms. The proliferation of Ultra-HD, HD and SD channels, along with limited global impact from OTT platforms, enable linear TV via satellite to continue upwards over the next decade.

“Although OTT platforms have become increasingly mature in North America, elsewhere the development of OTT platforms is in its infancy and is expected to have limited impact on traditional video platforms in the short to medium term,” stated Alan Crisp, Analyst with NSR and lead author of the report.

In North America, subscriber numbers on most cable TV platforms are declining due to cord cutting, and subscriber growth for DTH platforms has been at sub-par levels for some time. However, elsewhere platforms are moving from strength to strength, with the pull of exclusive content, sports and localised channels being a significant draw for consumers worldwide to linear TV platforms – and NSR does not expect this trend to change soon.

Especially in developing regions, access to high quality and fast Internet access remains a bottleneck for the adoption of OTT platforms, with wireless technologies such as 3G/LTE not suited to the demanding bandwidth required for streaming video content. As such, unless a ubiquitous fixed line or low cost satellite broadband service is introduced, there remains limited impact to the dominance of traditional pay-TV platforms, with a few exceptions.

As such, leased capacity video, the bread and butter for satellite operators, continues to exhibit strong growth, with over 3,500 satellite transponders to be leased in 2024 for DTH and video distribution services globally.

“Nevertheless, longer-term, it will essentially be compulsory for DTH and other pay-TV platforms to offer OTT as a supplementary service, to both increase retention amongst existing subscribers, and signing up new subs based on exclusive content, and effectively becoming a ‘one-stop-shop’ for content as much as feasibly possible,” stated Crisp.

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