Russia's Satellite TV Subscribers up 24% to 6.2 Million Households in 2010

By late 2010 the value of Russia’s satellite TV market reached $280 million, 3% up from 2009.

MOSCOW -- The number of satellite TV subscribers was up 24 percent to 6.2 million households in 2010, from the previous year, according to a study by Moscow-based J’son & Partners Consulting.

The penetration ratio was 12 percent of all households. Meanwhile, by late 2010, the value of Russia’s satellite TV market reached 8 billion roubles ($280 million), a three per cent increase from the previous year, signifying a slowdown in the growth of the total market and ARPU. “That trend was caused by the introduction by the majority of the operators of cheap basic subscription plans under 150 roubles ($5) a month as an instrument of retaining and attracting new subscribers,” according to the report.

The authors of the study predict that the number of satellite TV subscribers is set to continue to go up in Russia, and will exceed 8 million households, or 15 percent of all households, by late 2012.

Meanwhile, the growth is likely to slow down due to increased competition from other segments of pay TV, which offer smaller initial investment and a higher degree of interactivity to the user.

According to J’son & Partners Consulting, among the main obstacles for the development of the Russian satellite TV market are the shortage of localized content, lack of interactivity and additional services, such as Internet access, shortage of frequencies on local satellite platforms and tough competition with other pay TV options in bigger cities.

Currently, the leaders of the market are Trikolor TV (81.9 percent), NTV Plus (10.1 percent) and Orion Express (4.8 percent), which together account for more than 95 percent of all subscribers in the country.