Tough times continue in Eastern Europe, with poor job prospects forcing many to seek work abroad. This migration, married with low birth rates, mean that populations will fall in 15 of the 22 countries covered in Digital TV Research’s Eastern Europe Pay TV Forecasts report between 2016 and 2022.
Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “There will be a knock-on effect for the TV sector. The number of TV households will fall in 18 countries between 2016 and 2022 – with the region’s total declining by almost 2 million. Pay-TV will struggle, losing 1 million subscribers over the same period.”
Murray continued: “Eastern Europe is slowly ridding itself of the legacy of analogue cable TV. Belated DTT launches in some countries have resulted in some analogue cable TV laggards converting to FTA DTT rather than the (more expensive) digital pay-TV platforms.”
The number of digital pay-TV subscribers will increase from 25 million (20.2 per cent of TV households) in 2010 to 58 million (45.8 per cent) in 2016 and onto 77 million (61.0 per cent) by 2022.
2017 will be the peak year for pay-TV in Eastern Europe. Analog cable represented 28 per cent of the 81 million pay-TV subscribers at end-2016, so some of these 23 million subscribers will choose to convert to FTA DTT rather than to a digital pay platform.
Russia will account for nearly half of the region’s pay-TV subscribers in 2022. However, the number of pay-TV subs will fall in 10 countries between 2016 and 2022.
Pay-TV revenues in Eastern Europe will peak at $6.11 billion (€5.77bn) in 2017 before settling at the $6 billion mark. Analogue cable will contribute $1 billion to the 2017 total, falling to $184 million in 2022.
Russia’s low pay-TV fees for analogue cable subscribers have been continued by most satellite TV platforms. This means that Poland generates higher pay-TV revenues than Russia, despite having far fewer subscribers.
Pay-TV revenues will fall in half of the 22 countries between 2016 and 2022. Revenues for market leader Poland will be lower in 2022 than they were in 2010.