Ultra HD to ramp after 2020

DetailsEditor | 24 July 2015

Even though it offers huge long-term growth for pay-TV providers, Ultra HD will not be showing ultra, nor indeed rapid uptake until 2020, but those wanting to benefit need to get in now says research firm NSR.

RTVN 24 Jul Ultra HDThe analyst expects to see Ultra HD programming, the linchpin of market development, showing strong global take-up rates, with fastest growth expected in North America and the weakest in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, NSR believes that even though satellite Ultra HD capacity requirements over the long-term are a niche market, it will be an important niche that will drive linear TV platforms towards higher ARPUs and revenues.

Indeed despite continuing, and what it says are for the most part unwarranted, concerns about OTT threatening the future growth of linear TV NSR believes that Ultra HD's premium nature is now being seen as a fresh way to grow direct-to-home (DTH), cable and IPTV businesses further worldwide. The analyst points out that Ultra HD investment has hit new highs, with seemingly every few weeks another DTH platform announcing its Ultra HD intentions, trials or commercial broadcast.

NSR expects that by 2024 Ultra HD linear content on DTH platforms will consume approximately 70 transponders globally from 315-plus Ultra HD channels. This, it says, equates to an estimated additional $185 million in leasing revenues from Ultra HD content on DTH alone. This would mean that by 2024, Ultra HD will represent 1.2% of capacity globally on Ku-band DTH a niche market, but one which is highly sought after by the premium market. NSR detected a similar trend for video distribution to cable and IPTV head-end. It calculates that there will be 18 Ultra HD channels on Ku-band and 75 channels on C-band, leading to a combined total of 57 transponders, roughly 4% of global distribution capacity on all bands attributed to Ultra HD. This is projected to lead to $219 million in leasing revenues.

Yet NSR notes that the upward trend for Ultra HD is clearer than ever, and a failure to invest now will mean a failure to tap into its growing premium revenues.

It concludes that by saying that with Netflix, YouTube and other OTT platforms already serving Ultra HD content, and consumer awareness and familiarity of Ultra HD rising, consumers in developed regions will come to expect Ultra HD content on their pay-TV services, sooner rather than later.