IPTV overtakes pay satellite TV in Western Europe

The number of homes paying for IPTV in Western Europe overtook pay satellite TV ones in 2015.

According the Digital TV Western Europe Forecasts report, IPTV subscriptions will climb by nearly 7 million (up by 27%) between 2015 and 2021. IPTV revenues will reach $5.77 billion in 2021 – up by $1.2 billion.



However, the number of homes paying for satellite TV will fall by 300,000 between 2015 and 2021 for the 18 countries covered in the report. This is due mainly to some operators, especially in Spain and Italy, converting their DTH subs to more lucrative bundles on their broadband networks. Satellite TV revenues will fall for every year from 2011 – and will decline by $1 billion between 2015 and 2021.


Western European pay TV is fast maturing, with penetration only forecast to grow from 56.8% at end-2015 to 59.5% in 2021. The number of pay TV subscribers will climb from 97.4 million in 2015 to 104.3 million in 2021.


So, pay TV subscriptions will only increase by 6.9 million (7.0%) between 2015 and 2021. However, the number of digital pay TV subs will increase by 19.0% (nearly 17 million) over the same period. Digital cable subs will increase by almost 10 million.


The 9.9 million analog cable homes remaining at end-2015 will be the hardest to convert to digital as many of these subscribers pay for very basic packages as part of their rent.


Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “The remaining analog cable TV subs are the most obstinate. These homes have had several years to transfer to digital platforms – including those from their existing operators, but are still holding out. When conversion finally happens, these homes are more likely to convert to free-to-air platforms such as DTT or satellite than their predecessors.”


In fact, only seven (Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and the UK) of the 18 countries covered in the report had fully converted to digital by end-2015.


By 2021, pay TV penetration will range from nearly 100% in the Netherlands to 36% in Italy. Eight countries will exceed 90% pay TV penetration in 2021. However, pay TV penetration will fall in Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – countries with a large number of legacy analog cable subs.
Despite the number of pay TV homes increasing, pay TV revenues will remain flat at around $31 billion.


The UK ($7,217 million) will remain the most lucrative pay TV market. Regardless of having the most pay TV subs by some distance, Germany’s pay TV revenues will remain a lot lower than the UK – at $4,183 million by 2021. In fact, France and Italy will not be too far behind Germany, despite having far fewer pay TV subs.


For more information on the sixth edition of the Digital TV Western Europe Forecasts report, please see the Broadband TV News webshop.