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Western Europe tops 100m pay-TV subs

Western Europe will avoid the curse of cord-cutting – at least for the next five years, according to the Western Europe Pay TV Forecasts report from Digital TV Research. The Western European pay TV market is mature, but, unlike North America, it will still gain subscribers between 2016 and 2022. Although this only represents a 6.7 per cent increase, it means nearly 7 million more subs to take the total to 106 million. Western Europe will cross the 100 million pay-TV subs mark in June 2017.

“Better news is that the number of digital pay-TV subscribers will increase by 15.6 per cent (14 million) over the same period,” advised Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research. “Analogue 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 per cent between 2016 and 2022), Spain (up by 1.36 million or 23 per cent) and France (up 1.41 million or 11 per cent). However, subscriber growth will be lower than 3 per cent 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 analogue 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 (€25.6bn). 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 per cent 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 analogue cable revenues will decline by $1.13 billion.

Liberty Global, Sky and Vodafone will together account for 42 per cent of the region’s pay-TV subscribers by 2022. The same companies will take 53 per cent of pay-TV revenues.

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