Korea's KT SkyLife growth slows as regeneration beckons
Rebecca Hawkes
| 03 November 2014
UltraHD may be the key to reviving flagging operational momentum at Korea's largest pure-play pay-TV operator KT SkyLife.

According to analysts Media Partners Asia, the hybrid direct-to-home (DTH)/IPTV operator added 390,000 net new customers in 2013, compared to 529,000 in 2012. For the nine months to the end of September 2014, KT SkyLife added 77,136 customers.

"Much of the slowdown is due to a real brake on momentum at Olleh TV SkyLife (OTS), a bundled DTH/IPTV service bringing together SkyLife's satellite channels with KT's IPTV-based VOD services. OTS accounts for ~55% of the KTS customer base," said Media Partners Asia.
KTS had 4.26 million customers in September 2104; a market share of around 15%.

"A revival in KTS fortunes will depend on parent company KT allocating funds to drive OTS services with a bigger push in sales and marketing, as well as invest in newer services such as UltraHD," the industry analysts said.

The pay-TV company is currently going through restructuring following a recent change of management.

There has been a delay in the proposed roll-out of a dish convergence solution (DCS) where satellite antennae can be installed near buildings that are unable to have satellite dishes. The antenna can pick up TV signals and transmit them via KT's broadband network.

"DCS has an addressable market of three to four million households in Korea. KTS could potentially capture 10-20%, but the proposal has met resistance, and the regulatory approval process has been slow," said Media Partners Asia.