Emerging markets sustain satellite pay-TV growth

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 24-05-2012

Latin America, Central Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa and Asia are driving the satellite pay-TV industry according to new research by space sector analysis firm Euroconsult.

The survey found that by the end of 2011 the satellite pay-TV industry achieved revenues close to $90 billion in 2011, up from $79 billion in 2010, and expects revenues to reach close to $150 billion in 2021, with the aforementioned merging markets representing a growing share of income In fact Euroconsult believes that these will nearly double over the next ten years to reach 44% by 2021.

The Satellite TV Platforms, World Survey and Prospects to 2021 survey noted that the number of TV platforms in service increased to almost 140 in 2011, reaching 184 million subscribers. It predicts that nearly to 350 million households will subscribe to satellite pay-TV platforms worldwide by 2021, representing a 6.7% CAGR. Over the last decade, Euroconsult calculates satellite pay-TV subscriptions grew by at least 10% every year with the positive trend continuing in 2011 when worldwide subscriptions increased by around 16%. Asia has become the leading region in terms of subscriptions thanks to the booming Indian market. In 2021, an expected 77% of worldwide subscribers should be located in emerging regions versus 60% in 2011.

In order to tap into demand, Euroconsult observed that pay-TV platforms are investing in value-added services such as HD TV, 3D TV , and next-generation set-top boxes in order to develop competitive advantages. The report identfied 90 platforms with HD channels in their line-ups at the end of 2011, up from the 2009 total of 48 platforms distributing HD content. More than 2,800 HD channels were distributed by platforms worldwide in 2011, following the launch of close to 600 HD channels during the course of the year. Going forward, Euroconsult expects HDTV and emerging formats such as 3DTV and Ultra HD to drive channel growth over the coming decade.

"Emerging regions will take on the majority of subscriber growth going forward, as mature markets focus more on profitability," said Pacôme Révillon, CEO of Euroconsult. "Many platforms were launched in the past five years, which means they must now start delivering results. To accomplish this, platforms are increasing fees and services offered in order to increase revenues and margins. For those relatively mature platforms that cannot reach profitability in the near future, the threat of consolidation is always around the corner."

"Next-generation set-top boxes which include OTT delivery provide satellite pay-TV platforms a means through which to deliver 'true' VOD services," added Dimitri Buchs, Consultant at Euroconsult. "As a consequence, these boxes allow them to compete more directly with cable and IPTV service providers on that front. Terrestrial service providers have been able to provide 'true' VOD services for several years now. Apart from the competitive advantage, the roll-out of next-generation set-top boxes is also likely to limit the move from linear pay-TV subscriptions (i.e., satellite pay-TV, IPTV,...) to TV and video services received via OTT."