Eastern Europe Pay TV to Grow ... Mostly

According to Digital TV Research, 44 of eastern Europe's top 64 pay TV operators will increase their subscriber bases between 2015 and 2021 ...

Netflix forecast to hit 201 million subs by 2023
Netflix forecast to hit 201 million subs by 2023

According to Digital TV Research, 44 of eastern Europe's top 64 pay TV operators will increase their subscriber bases between 2015 and 2021.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: "So 20 of the top operators will lose subscribers - or 31% of the total. Perhaps this is not that unpredictable given that the region still had 24.5 million analog cable TV subscribers by end-2015."

Often paying low subscription fees, most of these homes are expected to convert to digital pay TV platforms, but some are expected to move to free-to-air digital terrestrial TV (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 is expected to see that proportion grow to 84% of the region's 83.7 million pay TV subscribers by 2021.

Russia's Tricolor the regional leader by subscribers, and it is expected to gain the most subs (1.87 million) by 2021. Liberty Global/UPC has operations in five eastern European countries, with its collective subscriber count expected to climb 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 pay-per-view (PPV) revenues, due to the low fees that they charge. Poland's Cyfrowy Polsat is expected to remain the revenue market leader, although Russia's Rostelecom is expected to gain the most (up by $132 million).

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