Pay TV Subs Up in Western Europe, but Revenues Continue to Drop

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Pay TV operators got some good news today from Digital TV Research, which found that pay tv subscriptions in Western Europe are on track to rise by 2.6% to 106 million by 2023. That's in contrast to the conclusions the research firm came to regarding Eastern Europe, where pay tv subs are expected to drop in the same period.

“Much of the pay TV subscriber growth will come from countries with traditionally low pay TV penetration. More than half of the region’s next additions will come from Italy [up by 960,000 between 2017 and 2023] and Spain [up by 716,000]. Germany will add 913,000 subscribers," says Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. 

But there's bad news as well: While Western European pay TV subs are expected to rise in aggregate, subscriber numbers will drop in six of the 18 countries covered in the report. That includes the UK, where 234,000 subscribers will drop service in the next 5 years, Murray says. 

And there's more bad news. While subscriptions will be up, revenues will be down by $2.11 billion by 2023, dropping to $27.27 billion. The UK will lose $628 million, even though it remains the most lucrative pay tv market, according to the research firm. Satellite TV in particular will take a hit across Western Europe. Though it will remain the highest-earning form of pay TV, revenues have been falling since 2011, and will continue to drop by another $2 billion by 2023. Cable TV revenues will drop $866 million by 2023. IPTV revenues, on the other hand, will rise by $883 million.

Liberty Global will remain the largest international pay TV operator in Europe, with 17.89 subscribers by 2023. But Sky is catching up, and will boast 14.86 satellite subscribers in the same time frame, and the company continues to be the pay TV revenue champ with $8.49 billion in revenue just from its satellite TV operations in 2023.

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