EU pay-TV inches up as PSB markets fall in value

Editor | 17 July 2014

The 19th edition of the European Audiovisual Observatory's look at TV markets in the EU has found both commercial and public service providers facing a number of challenges.

In Television, Cinema, Video And On-Demand Audiovisual Services - The Pan-European Picture, the observatory found that the share of the European industry on the global market, calculated on the basis of an analysis of the audio-visual turnover (cinema, television, on-demand services, recorded music, video games, specialised retailing) of the 50 leading groups worldwide, fell from 17.1% in 2009 to 12.5% in 2013. By contrast, the share gained by similar groups established in the United States rose from 57.7% to 66.4%.

European Union public service broadcasters' revenues fell from €33.4 billion in 2009 to 32.6 billion in 2012. In 2012, the proportion of public revenues—including licence fees, funding from public budgets, contributions, etc.—accounted for just over three-quarters (76.2%) of these revenues, compared with 21.4% for commercial revenues like advertising, pay-TV fees, sales of rights and products.

Looking at the commercial sector in more detail the report showed that the turnover of the 19 main European commercial television groups for continued operations rose 1% in 2013. The groups that derive the bulk of their revenues from pay-TV posted growth of 1.5%, whereas the revenues of the groups mainly financed by advertising remained stable, dipping by 0.1%.

Yet the pay-TV sector has lost a considerable amount of players in the EU over the years. In 2013, the pay-TV sector had 7,898 operators in 37 countries, which was a significant reduction in their number compared with 8,381 in 2009. Consolidation was particularly marked in the cable sector (7,551 operators compared with 8,079) and in the case of mobile TV operators (53 in 2013 compared with 77 in 2009). By contrast, the number of satellite platform operators rose from 73 to 80 and that of pay-DTT platform operators from 25 to 33, despite several business failures, while the number of IPTV platform operators on DSL networks rose from 127 to 181.