Pay-TV emerges as top revenue stream

By Branislav Pekic

Falling advertising revenues will lead to pay-TV becoming the main source of income in 2009, forecasts Milan-based ITMedia Consulting in its seventh annual Turning Digital report which analyses the state of the TV market in 17 European countries.

Digital TV is now present in two thirds of European households (100 million), compared to 54% in 2007, adding 18.6 million in one year. Digital terrestrial has already matched satellite as the digital TV access platform of choice: in 2009 forecasts ITMedia it will surpass it.

New platforms such as ADSL, FTTH and mobile TV are still searching for a position in the content distribution market. At the end of 2008, IPTV was present in 8.2 million households, nearly half of which were in France.
The European TV market as a whole grew by only 0.9% in 2008, compared to 4.7% the previous year, reaching an overall value of 89 million. Advertising revenue in 2008 reached 35.9 billion, down for the first time (by 4.3%) after two decades of growth.

Expenditure by end users (subscriptions and services requested) has become the main driver of growth, up 6.5% to 34.3 billion. Sky Italia, with its 4.7 million subscribers, has become the second pay-TV operator in Europe after BSkyB.

The report sees the best growth opportunities in the internet sector and in HD television.