Spanish pay-TV income up 3% but subscribers fall

Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 22-11-2013

Spain's pay-TV is surviving the country's financial crisis better than expected, and saw a rise of 3% in income during 2012, despite losing subscribers, according to a report by UTECA.

The report says that the increase in tax and the 8% drop in subscribers have seriously affected the country's pay-TV sector, but the change in football broadcasting has caused a growth in income. Previously, most matches were watched through pay-per-view, but now the pay-TV channels Canal+, Canal+Liga and Gilt broadcast all the games. This, plus the increase in the cost of broadcasting rights, has driven the average amount paid by subscribers to increase.

The operating expenses for pay-TV also grew 3%, pushed by an 8% rise in the cost of programmes. Moreover, staffing costs fell 28%. According to UTECA, the three figures are again mostly caused by an increase in the cost of football programming.

Regarding platforms, Canal+ keeps a solid lead position, with a market share of 41.5%, nearly 3% more than in 2011. In addition, Sogecable's platform has seen a 6% growth in client outlay.

These figures show more stability for pay-TV platforms than for free-to-air. Spain's main channels saw a drop of 15% in income in 2012, due to a fall in advertising. The advertising sector has changed during the past few months and is once again on the rise, but 2011 and 2012 were two of the worst years for advertising in Spain's TV history.