InfoCom Says Satellite TV to Overtake CaTV by 2015 in Western Europe – Cord-Cutting No Longer Impossible Scenario

By 2015, satellite TV will overtake CaTV in terms of TV households - IPTV expected to grow 10% a year - Changing the TV viewing landscape with the emergence of connected TV and over-the-top (OTT) content - For the first time, cord-cutting is no longer an impossible scenario.

Stuttgart, Germany, May 21, 2011 --( Western Europe posted over 182m TV households at end-2010, 40% of which are watching TV via terrestrial platforms, 27% via CaTV, and about 26% through satellite, either free-to-air or through paid subscription. The IPTV subscriber base represented about 7% of the total base. InfoCom expects that by 2015, satellite TV will overtake CaTV in terms of TV households, with satellite platforms expected to total 52.4m compared to CaTV, expected to top to 47.6m.

Currently, the two largest satellite TV markets of the region are Germany, with almost 16m satellite TV households, and the UK, with about 11m satellite TV households. Both markets have significant free-to-air satellite TV viewers. UK-based BSkyB is the leader DTH provider and gained more than 10m subscribers in 2010. Since 2008, CaTV in Western Europe has been experiencing a declining subscriber base. Platforms in the region posted 49.8m customers in 2010 and are expected to keep decreasing at 1% (CAAAGR) until 2015. IPTV, on the contrary, is expected to post an annual average subscriber growth of 10% between 2011 and 2015. By 2015, IPTV subscriptions in Western Europe are expected to reach more than 20m.

Looking at structural trends in the TV markets, it is apparent that TV households are gearing towards satellite TV and IPTV platforms. Despite CaTV’s efforts to level the playing field by utilising the “follower” strategy – for instance, adapting the bundling strategy as what IPTV players started – it seems like the effort is not enough to mitigate the downtrend.

The changing landscape of TV viewing with the emergence of connected TV and over-the-top (OTT) content may further impact the take-up of these TV platforms in the future. With native PC-based content, like online videos, made available to TV via connected TV devices, viewers are given a choice to watch only the programmes that they wish to see. After all, over-the-top content is continuously expanding to a point where most of the content that one can watch on subscription TV is available on-demand on connected TV sets without any need to maintain subscriptions to TV access providers. With this scenario, cord-cutting - when subscribers completely cut their TV subscription to any TV platform - is a possibility, which is not unlikely any longer.

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Loue Elijah D. Bernardo
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