Digital TV to exceed analogue in CEE this year

Digital TV homes in central and eastern Europe will exceed analogue homes for the first time this year, according to the latest report from Digital TV Research.

Digital TV Research predicts that digital homes in the 15 countries covered will rise to 60.3 million this year, with analogue homes numbering 53.9 million.

Noting that digital-terrestrial rollouts have been delayed in several countries in the region, Digital TV Research nevertheless predicts that the number of digital homes will almost double between this year and 2017, rising to 112.2 million.

Pay TV homes in the region are expected to grow to 57.6 million this year, rising to 71.2 million by 2017. Pay digital DTH subscribers are expected to number 22.7 million this year, rising to 28.4 million in 2017. Digital cable homes will number 10.1 million this year, rising to 27.2 million in 2017. Primary digital-terrestrial homes are expected to number 13.2 million this year, rising to 35.6 million in 2017.

Estonia will this year be the first country in the region to go all digital, according to the report. Ten of the 15 countries covered will be completely digital by 2017, according to the report. Pay TV will be taken by 61% of the region’s TV homes in 2017, up from 47% at end-2011 – or up by 18 million to 71 million. Pay TV revenues in eastern Europe will be 35% higher in 2017 at US$7.8 billion (€5.85 billion) than in 2012 (US$5.8 billion).

“The recession has had an impact on the TV sector. Compared with our previous report [published in April 2011], we have noted several delays to digital terrestrial rollouts. Even though some governments have either brought forward or confirmed their original analogue terrestrial switch-off plans, many do not believe that all of these deadlines will be met. In addition, we have also seen slower take-up of double-play and triple-play bundles,” said report author Simon Murray. “It is good news for pay TV operators that many eastern European countries have been slow to implement analogue terrestrial switchover. This favours pay TV operators as it gives them more time to convert homes to their packages before FTA DTT becomes established. Poland and Romania are prime examples of this.”