Sky’s subscriber base is expected to overtake Liberty Global’s in western Europe in 2017, according to new research by Digital TV Research.
The Western Europe Pay TV Operator Forecasts report claims that Liberty Global’s subscriber count will fall in the coming years as it tries to convert its remaining analogue cable subscribers by 2020, with some expected to be lost to other digital platforms.
Sky Europe on the other hand – which comprises assets in Austria, Germany, Italy, Ireland and the UK – is tipped to grow its satellite subscriber base.
According to the research, Sky’s subscriber numbers will climb from 10.44 million in 2014 to 18.36 million in 2020, while Liberty Global’s customer base will drop from 18.98 million subscribers in 2014 to 17.49 million in 2020.
Across the 66 operators in 15 countries covered by the report – representing just under 90% of Western European pay TV subscribers – total pay TV subscriptions are tipped to increase from 82.0 million in 2010 to 93.1 million by 2020.
However, only 36 (55%) of these operators will add to subscribers between 2014 and 2020, said the report.
“Traditional pay TV operators now face greater rivalry than ever before – either from other pay TV platforms such as IPTV or satellite or from ‘free’ multichannel TV services such as DTT and OTT TV and video [such as Netflix],” according to Digital TV Research.
Among the operators expected to make gains are Spain’s Telefonica and BT and TalkTalk in the UK. They are expected to add 2.18 million, 999,000, and 607,000 IPTV subscribers respectively between 2014 and 2020.
By contrast, over the same period Germany’s Unitymedia is tipped to lose 592,000 cable TV subscribers, the Netherlands’ UPC is expected to lose 400,000, Sweden’s Com Hem to lose 390,000 subscribers.
“Total subscription and VOD revenues for the 66 operators will remain at around US$29 billion. These operators account for about 92% of Western European pay TV revenues. Sky Europe [satellite TV subs only] will remain at the top of the revenues league, recording US$10.5 billion subscription and VOD revenues by 2020,” according to the study.