Futuresource have identified Ukraine as a bright spot for growth, according to itslatest market report covering eight key countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Across these key market’s consumer spend increased by 3 per cent last year, to €3.85 billion.
The report, which provides information on subscribers, revenue and operator performance across eight countries, details the varied landscape with the Ukrainian pay-TV market set to rapidly expand, seeing double digit subscription growth whilst other countries reach saturation point.
“We’re seeing pockets of growth throughout the forecast period, out to 2023,” says Carl Hibbert, Associate Director of Media and Entertainment Content at Futuresource Consulting. “Regional expansion is primarily being driven by developing markets such as Ukraine, which will see subscription revenues almost double from 2019 to 2023. This will originate from subscriber growth, whereas more saturated markets, like Estonia and Hungary, will see revenue growth through increased uptake of premium services.”
The region is seeing active transition of traditional cable and terrestrial propositions to IPTV services, particularly in markets with high penetration and more advanced pay-TV offerings. With telcos driving IPTV innovation through the integration of third-party premium video services, YouTube access and transactional video offerings; coupled with this, telcos are driving up TV subscriptions through multi-play (broadband and telephony) bundles.
Established pan-European operators continue to cement their position with Digi TV acquiring local competitors in Hungary. Vodafone is widening its presence across CEE through acquiring Liberty Global’s UPC services in the region as part of its strategy to become the top operator across all of Europe.
“In Bulgaria, IPTV subscriptions account for a quarter of the market, with 65% of these IPTV subscribers opting for bundled services,” says Hibbert. “IPTV is also attracting consumers who demand higher quality services with superior user experiences and HD channels. Availability of HD channels is also set to increase in the region as a result of IPTV uptake and satellite upgrades, and in Ukraine, TV operators are offering HD channels only to pay-TV subscribers.”
With investments in fibre and 4K UHD connected set-top boxes, operators are also increasing prices to generate ROI, with ARPU rising from €8.12 in 2018 to €8.46 by 2023. This remains substantially lower than Western Europe, which will see ARPUs of €25.26 in 2023.