European households connected to cable TV fell from 34 per cent to 30 per cent between 2008 and 2009, giving a loss of around 8 million TV households, according to research by Strategy Analytics.
These losses are believed to have been to the benefit of DTT, as the share of European households using DTT services rose from 12 per cent to 23 per cent by the same comparison, while the proportion of those using analogue terrestrial services fell from 41 per cent to 34 per cent. Satellite TV also increased its market share from 22 per cent to 24 per cent, while IPTV increased from 2 per cent to 4 per cent, according to the study’s findings.
Cable’s decline in the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) is described as being little short of “dramatic”: having hovered near the 90 per cent+ mark for a long time, household penetration of cable TV services has now fallen to 69 per cent in Belgium and 75 per cent in the Netherlands, according to the study, as DTT usage has increased to take up the slack, reaching 21 per cent in the Netherlands by the end of 2009.
Strategy Analytics reports this is not quite the same trend as seen in North America, where the major threat to pay-TV services is seen in OTT TV: instead, the threat to pay-TV services in Europe is seen to be DTT services, which are for the most part free.