Pay TV subscribers in Portugal up 160,000 in 1Q 2020

Friday, June 19th, 2020 
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Paid TV service gains 160 thousand new customers by March

The TV signal distribution service by subscription recorded 160 thousand new customers in the 1st quarter, corresponding to a 4% increase year-on-year, the strongest annual growth in absolute terms since 2016. By the end of March, this service had 4.1 million subscribers.

In the quarter, 89% of households were customers of the paid television services, 3% more than in the same quarter of the previous year.

The growth of the service was due to the offer based on optical fibre (FTTH), which recorded 271 thousand subscribers more than in the same quarter of the previous year, corresponding to a 15.9% increase, to 2 million customers. This growth contributed to fibre continuing to be the main form of access to this service, with 48% of the total subscribers. The second technology most used to access the service is cable, with 1.3 million customers, representing 32.2% of the subscribers. This is followed by satellite (DTH) which has 11.2% of the service subscribers of the service, showing a 4.7% decline to 462 thousand, and via telephone line (ADSL) with 8.5% of the subscribers, which recorded a 19.7% reduction in the number of customers, to 351 thousand.

In the 1st quarter of 2020, the downward trend of the number of DTH subscribers, that has been evident since 2016, slowed down. During this quarter, the number of DTH subscribers fell by 4.7% whereas a year ago it had fallen by 9.1%. At least one provider recorded an increase in the number of subscribers to this technology. This evolution might have been influenced by the state of emergency associated to Covid-19 which was enforced on 19 March.

Likewise, the number of ADSL accesses was slightly above the forecast range derived from the recent historical evolution. This evolution could also have been influenced by the state of emergency.

It should be recalled that the DTT switchover of frequencies started on 7 February 2020, and was suspended on 13 March 2020 due to the constraints associated to Covid-19.

Pay TV market shares (%)

                                      Var. (p.p.)
                    1T2019  1T2020  1T2019/1T2020
                    ------  ------  -------------
Grupo NOS             40.8    39.9           -0.9
 NOS Comunicações     38.2    37.3           -0.9
 NOS Madeira           1.8     1.8            0.0
 NOS Açores            0.9     0.8            0.0
MEO                   39.5    39.7            0.3
Vodafone              15.5    16.5            1.0
Cabovisão / NOWO       4.0     3.7           -0.3
Outros prestadores     0.1     0.1            0.0

Source: ANACOM

Shares per provider

The NOS Group was the provider with the highest share of customers of the TV signal distribution service by subscription (39.9%), although this figure was below 40% for the first time, followed by MEO (39.7%), Vodafone (16.5%) and NOWO (3.7%).

Vodafone and MEO were the providers that, in net terms, captured most subscribers in relation to the same quarter of the previous year, as their shares increased by 1% and 0.3%, respectively. On the other hand, the NOS Group share fell by 0.9% and the NOWO share fell by 0.3%.

Links: Anacom