ANACOM publishes 2Q09 pay TV numbers for Portugal

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

According to Portugal’s Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM), at the end of June 2009, the total number of subscribers to subscription TV continued to grow, surpassing 2.37 million, around 47 thousand more than in the previous quarter and 232 thousand more than in the same period of 2008.

The main drivers of the service’s growth have been, in the first place, the “other technologies” of access and, in second place, DTH.

Subscription television service subscribers – all technologies (thousands):

                             Quarterly     Annual
         2Q08   1Q09   2Q09  variation  variation
        -----  -----  -----  ---------  ---------
Total   2,140  2,325  2,372       2.0%      10.9%

The cable TV distribution service now comprises around 61 per cent of subscribers – down 1.5 percentage points on the previous quarter, while the weight of ”other technologies” grew by 1.5 percentage points to represent around 13.6 per cent of the total. The weight of DTH remains steady: 1 in 4 subscription TV subscribers use this technology.

Distribution of total subscribers by distribution network:

Cable    DTH  Other
-----  -----  -----
61.2%  25.2%  13.6%

Grupo ZON/TV Cabo continued to have the largest share of subscription TV subscribers (68.4 per cent, 1.7 percentage points less than in the previous quarter). PTC remains the 2nd largest subscription TV operator (18.7 per cent of subscribers), increasing its share by 2.2 points. The third largest operator is Cabovisão, with a share of 11.1 per cent.

Shares of subscription TV service subscribers (as percentage):

                         2Q08   3Q08   4Q08   1Q09   2Q09
                        -----  -----  -----  -----  -----
Grupo ZON/TV Cabo       74.3%  71.2%  72.3%  70.1%  68.4%
PTC                      5.4%   9.6%  13.6%  16.5%  18.7%
Cabovisão               14.0%  13.3%  12.4%  11.7%  11.1%
TVTEL                    3.4%   3.1%      -      -      -
AR Telecom               0.9%   0.9%   1.0%   1.0%   1.0%
Alternative providers    2.0%   1.9%   0.7%   0.7%   0.8%

Cable television

In second quarter of 2009, there was a total of 1.45 million subscribers, 0.4 per cent less than in the previous quarter and 2.9 per cent less than in the same quarter of 2008. This marks the fourth consecutive quarter of negative quarterly growth.

All the main operators saw declines to their customer base during the quarter being reported, with the exception of ZON/TV Cabo Portugal and some very small operators. In some cases these declines may result from substitution between service access platforms.

Cable television service subscribers (thousands):

                            1Q09            2Q09
                  --------------  --------------  Quarterly     Annual
           2Q08   Total  digital  Total  digital  variation  variation
          -----   -----  -------  -----  -------  ---------  ---------
Total     1,495   1,459      619  1,452      672      -0.4%      -2.9%

Satellite television (DTH)

At the end of second quarter of 2009, the number of subscribers to the television service using Direct To Home (DTH) technology was reported at 597 thousand, 13 thousand more subscribers than in the previous quarter (+2.2 per cent), and 72 thousand more than in second quarter of 2008 (+13.7 per cent).

This increase stems in the most part from the growth in the number of subscribers reported for PTC, which outstripped the decline seen in ZON/TV Cabo’s subscribers, especially in the Centre and Lisbon regions. In the Azores, PTC’s growth was not enough to offset the fall suffered by Grupo ZON/TV Cabo, with the growth rates turning negative.

Subscribers to satellite television distribution service (DTH) (thousands):

                          Quarterly     Annual
        2Q08  1Q09  2Q09  variation  variation
        ----  ----  ----  ---------  ---------
Total    525   584   597       2.2%      13.7%

Other platforms

This chapter looks at the remaining subscription TV offers, including offers over the public telephone network (xDSL/IP), over FWA and using fibre optic (FTTH). The number of subscribers to the subscription TV service using these plataforms and technologies was reported at 322 thousand in second quarter of 2009, 40 thousand more customers than in the previous quarter and corresponding to a rise of 14 per cent.

It should be noticed that during this quarter PTC launched an offer of subscription television over optical fibre (FTTx). This is the third offer of this type launched in Portugal after TVTel’s offer, launched in mid 2007 and Sonaecom’s offer, launched at the end of 2008. As of the end of second quarter of 2009, there were around 5,700 subscribers to TV over optical fibre, with Sonaecom the main provider of this service.

Subscription television subscribers – other technologies (thousands):

        2Q08  1Q09  2Q09  variation
        ----  ----  ----  ---------
Total    119   282   322      14.3%

More: Television Subscription Services – 2nd quarter 2009