80% Pay TV Penetration in Central and Eastern Europe by 2020

80% Pay TV Penetration in Central and Eastern Europe by 2020

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The number of pay TV subscribers in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region is expected to reach 82.2 million at the end of 2020, with subscribers to Internet protocol television (IPTV) recording the highest growth rate. According to the Central and Eastern Europe Pay TV 2016–2020 Forecast published by IDC, pay TV service penetration in the region will increase to 80% by the end of 2020.

The transformation of standard telecommunications and TV solutions into over-the-top (OTT) and IPTV solutions will facilitate the use of the same services on different platforms and devices and enable additional functions. Pay TV providers should use data analytics tools to reveal the way consumers interact with and view content, with a view to offering personalized services that deliver the optimum individual consumer experience. Leading providers in the region are creating innovative digital services combined with flexible payment and packaging models.

While the CEE pay TV market is approaching maturity on average, with pay TV penetration now at over 71% of TV-owning households, this penetration rate varies significantly within CEE, from as low as 41% in the Czech Republic to the upper end of 97% in Romania. Within this variance, there are clearly sweet spots for growth opportunities. Cable remains the primary method of pay TV distribution across much of the region. Despite some consolidation in recent years, the CEE market remains highly fragmented, especially in the cable segment. IDC expects further consolidation over the forecast period.

Taking into consideration the fact that leading global OTT players entered the CEE pay TV market within the last year, the pay TV landscape is now even more dynamic, presenting both new challenges and new opportunities to pay TV providers. While OTT was considered a pure inhibitor for pay TV operations, the development of new business models is showing that pay TV operators have moved on from viewing OTT services as a threat to treating them as an important part of the content mix. "The CEE pay TV market has been marked by some very positive trends, with multiscreen viewing and increasing consumption via smartphones standing out as key developments," says Dušanka Radoničić, a senior research analyst at IDC CEMA.

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