A new study by UK firm Digital TV Research predicts that the top pay-TV channels available in Europe will generate revenues of US$ 4.24bn this year, with the figure set to rise to US$5.28bn by 2017.
Top-earning channel group will remain Viacom for the next five years, generating US$ 741mn in 2012 and going on to produce just under US$ 1bn in 2017. The next group involves Discovery, Disney and Eurosport, which will all have similar revenues in 2012.
The forecasts, which covers the top 195 international channels/networks from 11 groups, exclude premium channels (mainly movies and sport) that require extra payment by the public, together with a few newer minor channels.
“Although it provides the bulk of the total, carriage fee revenue growth is slowing as markets mature,” said Nicholas Moncrieff , co-author of the study. “Having said that, carriage fee revenues will climb by 11.6% from US$ 2.93bn in 2012 to US$ 3.26bn in 2017″
“Most of the growth will come from a combination of higher penetration in Eastern Europe and the appearance of more HD channels that command higher carriage fees or at least allow channels to protect carriage fees in negotiations with platform operators.”
Simon Murray, co-author and founder of Digital TV Research, added that advertising has more room for growth as non-traditional channels gain audience share and greater acceptance among ad agencies.
“However, the international players face great competition as traditional domestic terrestrial players push their thematic channels,” said Mr. Murray. “Advertising revenues for the channels featured in this report will increase by 53.1% from US$ 1.32bn in 2012 to US$ 2.02bn by 2017.”
While Viacom remains top dog as things stand, Discovery is reported to be in talks with TF1 (Eurosport’s owner), which could create a combined group that would lead the market. In the third bracket, Fox, NBC Universal and Turner all have similar revenues.