The pay-TV markets in near-neighbours Greece and Romania could not be more different.
While in the former penetration stands at around 24%, in the latter it was 97% at the end of last year.
One would therefore assume there is still huge potential for growth in Greece but little if none in Romania. However, things are not quite so straightforward.
As we have reported this week in Broadband TV News, the pay-TV market in Greece currently finds itself in a crisis. Hit from pillar to post by excessive taxes, it has had a particularly bad impact on Forthnet, one of the country’s two main providers. Its figures have looked poor for some time, with the pay-TV subscriber base shrinking by 8% in the year to June 30.
While its main competitor Cosmote TV, which is backed by OTE, has generally been performing much better, it lost 1,000 pay-TV subscribers in the second quarter.
With Cosmote TV’s gains now unable to make up for Forthnet’s losses, Greece’s pay-TV market has started to shrink. While this may be just for the short term, it is certainly not a good sign.
In Romania, where OTE, and ultimately Deutsche Telekom, is the majority owner of Telekom Romania, things look somewhat different. The latter, one of the country’s top three pay-TV providers, continues to grow its base, albeit at a low rate (0.6% in the year to June 30).
Meanwhile, UPC, another of the top three, is slowly gaining pay-TV customers as a whole but suffered a disappointing loss of 4,300 DTH subscribers in Q2 this year.
RCS&RDS, the market leader, is also experiencing mixed fortunes. While its cable RGU total grew by 5.1% in the year to June 30, the DTH RGU total fell by 5.9%.
Clearly all is not well with the pay-TV markets in both Greece and Romania. However, the latter is larger, more dynamic and competitive and barring any unexpected developments likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.