European Pay TV Revenues to Flatten During 2014

Tomi Um

Research indicates European pay TV revenues will reach $40.35 billion in 2014, up from $36.87 billion in 2010.

LONDON -- European pay TV revenues will reach $40.4 billion by the end of 2014, up from $37 billion in 2010, according to a report published Wednesday by U.K. specialist analysts Digital TV Research.

The European Digital TV Databook (covering 39 countries) indicates that the 2014 total will only increase by 0.6 percent on 2013 tallies as average revenues per user (ARPUs) are hit by competition and the transition of subscribers to double-play and triple-play bundles (which result in higher overall ARPUs for operators but lower TV ARPUs).

The report says satellite TV will contribute 45.6 percent of the pay-TV revenues in 2014 but satellite revenues are falling, partly due to greater competition but also due to the growth of cheaper packages on offer in certain territories such as Tricolor in Russia, which force down prices for the whole country.

Pay direct to television revenues are also suffering, but Internet-based TV delivery will record strong revenue growth. Digital cable revenue growth will compensate for the decline in analog cable revenues.

Pay TV revenues in western Europe will increase by 5.9 percent from $31.9 billion in 2010 to $33.8 billion in 2014, with Eastern Europe up by 32.2 percent to $6.5 billion, the report said.

The U.K. ($7.8 billion) and Germany ($4.6 billion) will lead pay-TV revenues in 2014.

Pay-TV revenues in Germany will increase by $945 million between 2010 and 2014 and by $813 million in Russia (nearly double its 2010 total). However, revenues will fall in the Czech Republic, France, Malta, Romania and Spain over the same period.

And pay TV subscriptions will increase from 154.5 million in 2010 to 171.6 million by end-2014.

The western European total will rise by only 4.0 million to 97.3 million, but Eastern Europe will climb by 13.1 million to 74.4 million.

Adding 8.5 million subs between 2010 and 2014, Russia has had the most pay-TV subscribers by country for some time. The number of pay TV subscribers will fall in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Slovenia and Spain between 2010 and 2014.

Digital TV penetration will reach 81.9 percent of European TV households by end-2014, up from 60.0 percent at end-2010.

The report, authored by Simon Murray, projects that Europe will have 240.3 million digital TV households by end-2014, up by 12.7 million during the year and up by 67.2 million since 2010.

Free-to-air digital terrestrial television remains the most popular platform, although its growth is slowing with good news for Rupert Murdoch's operations. Pay satellite TV is in second place.

Digital cable overtook analog cable in 2013 to take third place.

The number of homes paying for IPTV will more than double between 2010 and 2014.

Russia will overtake the U.K. and France in 2014 to become the second largest digital TV nation behind Germany.