Moscow pay-TV market tightens

By Chris Dziadul | May 26, 2009

The global financial crisis has started to impact on the pay-TV market in the Russian capital.

First quarter results published by Comstar-UTS show that the company had 137,000 pay-TV subscribers in Moscow at the end of March, or 6% less than three months earlier.

However, it was a better picture in the regions, where following consolidation over 50% of potential households, or 1.9 million active subscribers, were using pay-TV services at the end of Q1. Of these, 378,000 opted for low-cost packages consisting of 20 TV channels.

The company acknowledges that the broadband market in Moscow is close to saturation, with penetration of around 62% and PC penetration at over 70%. It has therefore switched its attention to premium ARPU growth and mass market subscriber acquisition.

Pay-TV ARPU in Moscow amounted to $14.6 (€10.40) in Q1 2009, as opposed to $22.9 a year earlier. That in the regions meanwhile stood at $3, a slight increase on the $2.9 in Q1 2008.