At the end of 2010, Western Europe had more than 182mn TV households, of which 40% were watching TV via analogue and digital terrestrial platforms, 27% were watching via cable TV, about 26% via satellite and around 7% via IPTV.
Currently, the two largest satellite TV markets in the region are Germany with almost 16mn satellite TV households, and the UK with around 11mn satellite TV households. Both countries are described as having “significant” free-to-air satellite TV viewers, and UK satellite TV operator BSkyB is named as the leading DTH provider with over 10mn subscribers by the end of last year.
Since 2008, cable TV is believed to have been experiencing a declining subscriber base: cable TV operators in Western Europe had a combined 49.8mn customers by the end of 2010, and this figure is expected to continue declining at 1% annually between now and 2015.
IPTV meanwhile is expected to post an average annual subscriber growth rate of 10% over the same period, and by 2015 there are expected to be over 20mn IPTV subscribers in Western Europe.
The emergence of connected TV and over-the-top (OTT) video may further affect the take-up of these established TV platforms in the future: OTT TV is described as continuously expanding to the point where most of the content available on subscription TV is also available on-demand on connected TV sets. Under this scenario, cord-cutting is believed to be a possibility which is “no longer unlikely”.
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