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Survey shows continued strength of satellite TV

Eutelsat HQ ParisSatellite continues to demonstrate its relevance as a channels distribution technology with robust growth both in DTH homes and those receiving signals indirectly through cable or IPTV, according to Eutelsat’s latest research.

The Eutelsat TV Observatory has calculated that the overall satellite market in the countries it surveys across its footprint in the Europe, North Africa and the Middle East stands at 274 million homes, either receiving DTH signals or receiving satellite signals indirectly via cable or IPTV networks.

This represents growth of 32% since Eutelsat’s last survey in 2010, which Eutelsat’s director of commercial development and marketing Markus Fritz said was faster than growth in the overall market. “Our market share has increased. The growth is mostly from organic DTH,” said Fritz on a call to discuss the findings of the survey.

All eight neighbourhoods continue to experience audience growth. Eutelsat’s established Hot Bird neighbourhood at 13° East leads with 138 million DTH, cable and IP homes, up from 122 million in 2010. Eutelsat’s largest audience is still within the Hot Bird footprint, serving 49% of the overall audience.

The fastest growth was recorded by the Eutelsat 9A satellite whose audience, principally concentrated in western Europe, has risen from five million to 14 million, attracting nine million new cable and DTH homes since 2010. Fritz said that growth at the 9° East position was driven by increased cable reach as well as DTH.

The other key hot spot is the 7-8° West position Eutelsat shares with Nilesat that serves the Middle East and North Africa, where the audience across the countries measured increased from 27 million to 52 million between 2010-14 – in part due to the addition of five countries to the survey, but with like-for-like growth of between 28-30%, according to the company. There are currently about 1,000 channels broadcasting from the position.

DTH accounts for 160 million homes, up 45% on the 2010 figure, with its market share growing from 53% to 58%.

In western Europe, DTH accounts for 58 million homes, up 7% on 2010. This compares with 48 million primary DTT homes, up from 44 million, and 44 million cable homes, down from 50 million. IPTV has experienced the strongest growth of any distribution technology, growing from 10 million in 2010 to 29 million in 2014, including 15 million in France.

In western Europe, satellite’s overall growth was 7.3% faster than growth of the overall market which grew by 1.7%. Fritz said that while cable has declined in some markets, satellite has benefited from IPTV’s growth as well as from increased DTH reception, as it feeds channels to IPTV networks. The DTH audience had also likely captured additional customers as a result of digital switchover, which had also benefited IPTV providers but had failed to prevent a decline in cable customers. Fritz said that “more choice and better quality” amongst satellite channels had benefited the platform, with satellite’s lead in HD playing in its favour.

The profile of satellite households in western Europe has also moved slightly in favour of pay TV in the last four years, with pay now accounting for 51% of homes, against 48% in 2010.

Eutelsat has strengthened its position in markets including Italy, Poland and the Middle East. “Our audience share has grown nicely,” said Fritz.

“We are committed to further investments to fuel our leading hotspots,” said Fritz highlighting 7/8°. Nine degrees East will also be grown via dual LNB receivers that can receive channels from the Hot Bird position, he said.

Eutelsat’s survey did not include its homes in sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America.