UK leads Europe towards mass cord-cutting | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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It may have once been a US-only phenomenon but cord-cutting, says research from Strategy Analytics, is now impacting Europe’s pay-TV arena led by marked declines in UK subscriptions to traditional services.
StrategyAn cord cutting 26April2019
The Strategy Analytics, report, European Pay TV Index , the number of pay-TV subscriptions across Europe as whole rose slightly in 2018, reaching 128.5 million. But the growth rate of 1.3% declined from the previous year’s 2.2% and the analyst suggested that the trend would be that subscriptions across the continent will begin to decline within the next year or two.

Looking at specific regions, the research revealed that the UK saw a net decline in pay-TV households of 424,000 in 2018, the largest decline of any European country. Other countries with falling subscriptions include Denmark, Switzerland and Germany, although the rates of decline were found to be less significant. However, pay-TV was found to be still growing in countries such as Russia, France, Poland and Spain, where the market is generally less mature.

Examining the effect that the trend was having on individual companies, Strategy Analytics noted that Europe’s pay-TV market was highly fragmented, with the top five players accounting for less than half of all subscribers. Telcos such as Orange and Deutsche Telekom were faring better than traditional cable and satellite players like Sky owner Comcast and Liberty Global which has Virgin Media in its portfolio among others. Telco TV subscriptions rose 5.4% in 2018, compared with a decline for their rivals of 1.3%. Yet Comcast and Liberty Global remained the leading pay-TV providers in Europe, with subscriber market shares of 14.9% and 13.8% respectively.

“We have seen the cord-cutting trend for several years in the US, where the pay-TV business is more mature,” said Michael Goodman, director, TV and media strategies at Strategy Analytics commenting on the European Pay TV IndexEuropean Pay TV Index. “Now it is starting to hit major markets in Europe, and this spells trouble for pay TV operators which cannot adapt to the needs of today’s viewers. The threat of falling subscriber revenues and stronger OTT rivals will also increase pressure from investors for further consolidation across the industry.”