Russia's Tricolor TV poised to overtake DISH Network

Editor | 11-08-2012

Russia's leading satellite operator, Tricolor TV, said that it expects to move into the No. 2 position in global satellite market share by the end of 2013, trailing only U.S. powerhouse DirecTV in terms of the number of subscribers.

It should surpass current No. 2 DISH Network with a subscriber total that will swell from 11 million viewers now to 14.5 million at the end of 2013, it announced.
The company also said that just this month it has climbed into third place globally, ahead of India's Dish TV and the U.K.'s BSkyB.
Satellite is a growing force in Russia, particularly in underserved areas, which is presumably where most of the growth will come from. According to TNS Russia, DTH services feed 27% of Russian households, and out of that, 76% of them have signed up for Tricolor TV. About a third of that 76% live in rural areas.
DirecTV and DISH Network meanwhile are struggling to add subscribers in their domestic U.S. market, with DISH losing 10,000 subs in the second quarter, ending with 14.1 million subscribers total. DirecTV fared slightly better but showed weakening subscriber growth in the U.S., adding just 26,000 subscribers in the quarter, its weakest showing in its history.

DirecTV is now focusing its efforts on Latin America for future growth.

Tricolor TV is working on a new HD initiative as well, which should help it gain new customers. The company hopes to total 7 million subscribers--about half of its planned subscriber base--for the Tricolor TV Full HD offering by the end of 2013. The service plan offers 25 HD channels for 23 per year as an add-on to existing satellite plans.

The company itself is not the only bullish supporter of its prospects. Last month, Tricolor TV was cleared for purchase by the Russian competition regulator. It approved the acquisition of a 50% stake in the company by an existing shareholder, which would give the shareholder--as yet unnamed--a 87.4% controlling interest.