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

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 
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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.

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 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% of the region’s 83.7 million pay TV subscribers by 2021.

Top five pay TV operators by subscribers (000)

Ranking  Operator      Country    2015   Ranking  Operator      Country    2021
-------  ------------  -------  ------   -------  ------------  -------  ------
1        Tricolor      Russia   11,799   1        Tricolor      Russia   13,666
2        Rostelecom    Russia    8,610   2        Rostelecom    Russia    9,014
3        Cyfra Polsat  Poland    3,567   3        Cyfra Polsat  Poland    3,644
4        ER Telecom    Russia    2,801   4        Orion         Russia    3,265
5        Orion         Russia    2,800   5        MTS           Russia    2,922

Source: Digital TV Research

Not only is Russia’s Tricolor the regional leader by subscribers, but it will 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).

For more information on the Eastern Europe Pay TV Operator Forecasts report, please contact: Simon Murray, [email protected], Tel: +44 20 8248 5051.