E Europe on verge of digital TV tipping point

Editor ©RapidTVNews | 02-04-2012

As the recession fails to halt digital TV expansion in the region, Eastern Europe will see the number of digital homes exceed the analogue total for the first time according a new report from Digital TV Research.
The Digital TV Eastern Europe report forecasts that the number of digital homes will nearly double between 2012 and 2017, bringing the total to 112 million. Ten of the 15 countries will likely be completely digital by 2017, with Estonia the first to full conversion by the end of 2012. Russia will add more than 26 million digital homes between 2012 and 2017, with the Ukraine increasing by more than 10 million.

The analyst believes that pay-TV will be taken by 61% of the region’s TV homes in 2017, up from 47% at end-2011, in absolute terms a rise of 18 million to 71 million. This growth will subsequently drive a 35% increase in pay-TV revenues in Eastern Europe to 2017 from the current $5.780 billion to $7.806 billion in five years time.
Commented report author Simon Murray: “The recession has had an impact on the TV sector. Compared with our previous report [published in April 2011], we have noted several delays to digital terrestrial rollouts. Even though some governments have either brought forward or confirmed their original analogue terrestrial switch-off plans, many do not believe that all of these deadlines will be met. In addition, we have also seen slower take-up of double-play and triple-play bundles.
“It is good news for pay-TV operators that many Eastern European countries have been slow to implement analog terrestrial switchover. This favors pay TV operators as it gives them more time to convert homes to their packages before FTA DTT becomes established. Poland and Romania are prime examples of this.”