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Growth for most of Eastern Europe’s top pay TV operators

MUMBAI: Given the poor economic prospects of most countries in the region and pay TV market slowdown, the ‘Eastern Europe Pay TV Operator Forecasts’ report notes that 44 of Eastern Europe’s top 64 operators will increase their subscriber bases between 2015 and 2021.

Digital TV Research principal analyst Simon Murray said, “So 20 of the top operators will lose subscribers – or 31 per cent of the total. Perhaps this is not that unpredictable given that the region still had 24.5 million analogue cable TV subscribers by end-2015.”

Often paying low subscription fees, most of these homes will convert to digital pay TV platforms but some will move to free-to-air DTT, especially in countries such as Russia, Romania and Poland that have been slow to convert to digital terrestrial.

Covering 106 platforms across 18 countries, the 64 top operators collectively generated 78% of Eastern Europe’s pay TV subscribers by end-2015. Market consolidation will see this proportion grow to 84 per cent of the region’s 83.7 million pay TV subscribers by 2021.

Not only is Russia’s Tricolor the regional leader by subscribers but it will also gain the most subs (1.87 million) by 2021. Liberty Global/UPC has operations in five Eastern European countries, with its collective subscriber count climbing from 4.21 million at end-2015 to 4.98 million by 2021.

Despite having more subscribers, Russia’s main operators do not feature as highly in the top 10 ranking by subscription and PPV revenues, due to the low fees that they charge. Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat will remain the revenue market leader, although Russia’s Rostelecom will gain the most (up by $132 million).