BRIC operators lay foundation for booming telco pay-TV

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 24-01-2012

The long awaited explosion in telco TV looks like it is finally taking place with data from TeleGeography showing 94 million global pay-TV subscribers by the end of Q3 2011.
This would represent a 12% share of the global pay-TV market but at the growth rate revealed by the analyst,this figure will have already passed 100 million by the end of the 2011 calendar year.At the vanguard of the rapidly growing market are operators from BRIC countries, mainly China and Brazil where in the case of the latter, and to a lesser extent pay-TV operations in Colombia and several other Latin American countries, America Movil boasts ten million pay-TV subscribers. Snapping at its heels are China Telecom and Rostelecom, both of whom focus solely on their home markets, and France Telecom-Orange which has pay-TV operations in Poland, Spain and Slovakia in addition to being one of the leaders in its domestic market, traditionally Western Europe’s telco TV power house.
While making its analysis , TeleGeography says that it is necessary to realise that telco pay-TV and IPTV are not exactly synonymous, with the latter, while being important both strategically and tactically, accounting for less than 60% of providers’ pay-TV subscribers on average. Indeed, the analyst notes that several telcos are investing heavily in cable TV and satellite DTH operations, while pay-DTT and some long thought extinct MMDS services are also part of the mix.
Citing a classic example of this phenomenon, TeleGeography cites America Movil as achieving its leadership position by developing or acquiring cable and DTH businesses, with hardly any IPTV interests. In is is thought that 85% of Rostelecom’s pay-TV subscriber base is derived from cable TV.
Yet, that is not to ignore the essential future contribution, of IPTV, TeleGeography’s John Dinsdale, suggested: ‘Looking to the future there is no doubt that telcos will further increase their share of the pay-TV market. While telcos will continue to invest in cable and DTH operations, over the next five years it will primarily be strong IPTV growth that enables them to gain market share. We forecast that the IPTV subscriber base will have doubled in size by the end of 2016, which will help telcos gain control of some 16% of the pay-TV market.’