[Via Satellite 01-13-2015] The Eutelsat TV Observatory has revealed the results of its most recent research on the number of homes receiving channels broadcast by eight of Eutelsat’s television neighborhoods serving Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EMENA). The results show a strong uptick of homes receiving television directly or indirectly by satellite.
A total of 274 million homes are now either equipped for Direct-to-Home (DTH) reception or connected to a cable or IP network offering channels broadcast by a Eutelsat satellite, up 37 percent from 207 million in 2010. Seventy percent of the 393 million TV homes in the footprint analyzed watch channels brought to them by a Eutelsat satellite.
All eight neighborhoods continue to experience audience growth. Eutelsat’s established the Hot Bird neighborhood remains in first place with 138 million DTH, cable and IP homes, up from 122 million in 2010. The fastest growth was recorded for the Eutelsat 9A with an audience primarily concentrated in Western Europe. Eutelsat 9A has risen from 5 million to 14 million, attracting 9 million new cable and DTH homes since 2010.
“In Western Europe satellite has remained important especially from a revenue perspective with high [Average Revenue Per User] ARPU — but is level at about 25 percent of the TV households. IPTV has been generally growing at the expense of primarily terrestrial, with cable and satellite losing market share to a lesser degree,” Sam Rosen, practice director at ABI Research told Via Satellite.
According to the Eutelsat TV Observatory’s research, DTH remains the leading reception mode within the combined audience of the Eutelsat neighborhoods measured, accounting for 160 million homes — a 44 percent increase from 111 million in 2010, increasing its market share to 58 percent from 53 percent. This growth in particular reflects strong demand for channels broadcasting from two neighborhoods: The Hot Bird neighborhood, with its pay-TV platforms and strong Free-To-Air (FTA) line-up, has driven steady expansion to 66 million homes in 2014 from 52 million in 2010; and Eutelsat’s 7/8 degree west neighborhood (shared with Nilesat), with a DTH base in the Middle East and North Africa, has risen to 52 million in 2014 from 27 million homes in 2010, with an offer of more than 1,000 channels.
“Looking across [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] EMEA as a whole, satellite is the strongest platform with about 42 percent of total households — this is heavily driven by the MEA region,” said Rosen, adding that high DTH growth rates in the MEA region are an indication of the strong role of satellite broadcasting.
The Eutelsat TV Observatory also studied general trends in DTH, cable, IPTV and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) reception in more mature Western European markets. Fifteen countries were surveyed, accounting for 179 million TV homes. Results showed DTH as the main mode for TV reception in Western Europe, up 7 percent to 58 million homes from 54 million in 2010, and accounting for one in three homes. Exclusive DTT reception has risen to 48 million from 44 million homes, while cable has declined to 44 million homes from 50 million. IPTV has increased from a modest base of 10 million homes to 29 million in 2014 — of which 15 million are in France.
“IPTV has been the key growth platform [for television in Western Europe], with France paving the way,” said Rosen. ABI Research has found that “cable has remained relatively flat on a total household basis while satellite has shown slow growth,” with FTA broadcasts being an important factor.
According to the Eutelsat TV Observatory the total audience of the Hot Bird satellites in Western Europe has continued to expand, reaching 67 million homes in 2014, up from 62 million in 2010.
“This extensive research confirms that satellite remains the backbone of digital broadcasting infrastructure, delivering channels to homes on a DTH basis and enabling operators of cable and IP networks to enrich and diversify their line-up,” said Michel Azibert, Eutelsat’s chief commercial and development officer, in a statement.
Rosen said the number of TV households in Western Europe has been gradually growing with the population, while pay-TV has been more robust, thanks primarily to the popularity of rich content such as sporting events and some high profile series. ABI Research expects the number of pay-TV households worldwide will surpass 1 billion by 2020.
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