More European cable markets saw an increase in subscriber numbers than a fall, but overall there was another year-on-year aggregate decline in subscriptions.
Data released by IHS Markit for Cable Congress suggest the decline is not indicative of cord cutting as rival platforms continue to pick up subscribers.
“Virgin Media in the UK added more than 100,000 TV subscribers in what’s a very mature TV market, but Europe as a whole saw a total decline that applies both within Total Europe and the European Union,” explained IHS Markit’s Ted Hall. “It’s slowly reaching the conclusion of the analogue switchover, so there’s fewer analogue subscribers to lose to other platforms.
But the subscriber losses do not tell the whole story with digital subscriptions leading to an increase in ARPU.
Broadband is also firmly set as cable’s star performer. Cable Internet subscriptions increased in all but three of the European markets over the last year. Next generation access services are also performing strongly for cable, though increased competition has pushed its share down to 26 per cent from a third in previous years.
Among the video services with a 46 per cent share, Netflix now has more subscribers than any of the big European players, with Amazon Prime also ahead on 16 per cent. However, Hall points out that such subscriptions are far less than the traditional pay-TV subscriptions.
When it comes to revenues Sky takes 26 per cent of total revenues, followed by Liberty Global on 13 per cent and Netflix on 6 per cent.