The number of TV subscribers in the Netherlands fell by 0.5% to less than 6.9 million in 2021.
The decline accelerated in the last quarter of the year, leaving only 85% of households with a TV subscription at the end of the year, according to research by Telecompaper. Market leader Ziggo lost the most subscribers, while number two KPN and some smaller providers gained market share.
In total, the market shrank by 19,000 TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2021, more than twice the decline in the number of subscribers in the same period a year earlier, according to Telecompaper’s most recent Dutch Consumer Television report. The continued decline in the number of TV subscribers means that consumer pay-TV revenues are also lower in 2021, falling 1.5% to EUR1.78 billion for the whole of 2021.
Cable operator Ziggo is still the largest TV provider, but its market share fell by 1.2% to 48.1% of all TV subscribers at the end of 2021. Ziggo completed the phasing out of its analogue TV service in the first half of the year, which meant it could no longer benefit from customers migrating to its digital services. In total, Ziggo lost almost 100,000 private TV subscribers by 2021.
Number two KPN did better and saw a slight growth in TV subscribers thanks to the acquisition of customers from Oxxio, after the latter left the market. KPN ended 2021 with a market share of 33.1%, compared with 32.8% at the end of 2020. Delta Fiber (incl Delta and Caiway) followed at a distance with a share of 5.5%, M7 (incl Canal Digitaal and Online.nl) also with 5.5% and T-Mobile (incl Tele2) with 4.8%. All these parties have grown somewhat in terms of the number of TV subscribers by 2021.
“Traditional TV will face more competition from ott-streaming services and other online media, which will make young people in particular reconsider the need for a TV subscription,” said Kamiel Albrecht, Telecompaper analyst for the fixed market and author of the TV report.
“The current high rate of inflation will make it increasingly difficult for providers to offset the impact on revenue due to the smaller number of TV subscribers with price increases.”
For 2022, Telecompaper predicts that the rate of decline in the number of TV subscribers will double to around 1 per cent as the phasing out of the analogue TV signal no longer has an impact. The long-term forecast is that pay-TV household penetration will fall to around 77 per cent of households by 2026.