The proposed acquisition of Virgin Media by Liberty Global serves to underline the internationalisation of the pay-TV market, according to Florence Le Borgne-Bachschmidt, head of the TV & Digital Content Practice at IDATE.
“Pay-TV is nearing saturation in the world’s more developed TV markets. The emergence of new OTT video services on televisions and other connected devices increases the threat of cord-cutting. For a great many pay-TV providers in the West, emerging markets therefore represent vital sources of future growth.”
IDATE says that in the traditional pay-TV strongholds of Japan and Germany, cable TV still holds the bulks of subscribers, 57.1% and 74.6% respectively.
Many of these homes are for access services, with the most basic of TV offers being bundled in with a wider TV offer. IDATE says this is disappearing in countries like Italy and the UK, where Virgin is dropping its ‘M’ tier, while in France the development of IPTV is serving only to grow the number of subscribers on an access tier.
According to IDATE, the number of TV households worldwide will reach 1.544 billion in 2017 (+9.1% in 5 years).
Cable will the remain the chief access channel (554.0 million households in 2017) but will gradually lose ground to satellite and IPTV which will account for 32.1% and 8.6% of TV households, respectively, at the end of 2017.