Portugal ended the third quarter of 2015 with 3.47 million pay-TV subscribers, up 1.2 per cent on the previous quarter and 5.4 per cent more than in the same period last year.
According to the quarterly report of the National Communications Authority (Anacom), the penetration rate for the service has now reached 85.5 per cent.
NOS is still market leader with a 43.7 per cent share (44.5 per cent in Q3 2014), followed by Meo (now owned by Altice Group) with 41.1 per cent. Vodafone Portugal saw the highest growth, going up from 6.7 per cent in Q3 2014 to 9.6 per cent in Q3 2015, while Cabovisão has 5.4 per cent.
Cable remains the main distribution technology with 1.35 million accesses (38.9 per cent of the total), followed by fibre with 761,000 (21.9 per cent), ADSL with 751,000 (21.6 per cent) and DTH with 609,000 (17.5 per cent). Significantly, 87 per cent of pay-TV subscribers had the service included in a package.
Pay-TV revenues (stand-alone and bundled) were up 27.1 per cent to €1.23 billion, with ARPU at €41.20. Triple/quadruple/quintuple-play packages were the main drivers of revenue growth.
An estimated 15.5 per cent of pay-TV households had access to premium channels, while 71.9 per cent had more than 80 TV channels.
Competition in the pay-TV sector is set to intensify after NOS signed an exclusive ten-year TV rights deal, worth €400 million, with the Benfica football club. The agreement also includes the distribution of Benfica’s club channel BTV.
For its part, Meo is close to signing agreements with several smaller Portuguese football clubs, offering them contracts worth €2-3 million per year. The TV rights for Benfica’s biggest rivals, Sporting and Porto, are also seen as a potential target, however negotiations can only take place after the expiry of the current contracts.