The number of pay-TV subscribers in the UK has risen by 1 million on the past year with Sky’s entry product NOW TV emerging as a significant player.
IHS Technology says that as at March 31, 2015 there were 16.7 million UK households subscribing to pay TV via satellite, cable or IPT, up from 15.6 million in the same period in 2014.
Sky remains the leading pay-TV platform in the UK and Ireland with 11.9 million customers at the end of Q1 2015, of which IHS estimates 10.3 million TV customers in the UK. Sky’s net year-on-year gain was over 400,000 subscribers.
But the analyst says that all of Sky’s growth is now derived from NOW TV, underling the strong demand for OTT services in the UK, and against a background of declining subs for the satellite-delivered service.
“Sky’s careful pricing of the NOW TV offer has minimised the risk of cannibalism from the tradition customer base, while hit shows such as Game of Thrones and the relatively low cost of the box itself have proven attractive to new consumers,” says IHS.
Talk Talk had 1.4 million subscribers at Q1 2015 (a net year-on-year gain of 28%), with BT reporting 1.1 million TV subs (13%), excluding BT Sport and Virgin Media 3.7 million, almost unchanged from Q1 2014.
Without Now TV, IHS research indicates that Sky’s satellite subscriber base declined 52,000 in Q1 2015 versus Q4 2014. This was the fourth successive quarter of decline in subscriptions to Sky’s core pay TV service.