Low average revenues per user (ARPUs), growing competitive threats, and rival multiscreen services are driving many pay-TV providers in Europe and Asia to explore new business strategies in video services, according to US research firm Parks Associates.
Parks estimates that multiscreen services now reach 66% of pay-TV subscribers in Western Europe, 21% in Eastern Europe, and 9% in Asia, compared to 90% in North America.
The research firm namechecks UK broadcaster BSkyB as being one of Europe’s major pay-TV operators that has moved into offering over-the-top (OTT) video services to subscribers and non-subscribers alike, with monthly subscriptions ranging from GB£ 15-40 (US$ 24-64) per month.
Italian pay-TV providers Telecom Italia, Mediaset, and FastWEB, Romanian incumbent Romtelecom, UAE-based Etisalat, and South Korean cable operator CJ Hellovision have all launched video services that are available to anyone with a broadband connection.
Operators with niche content, such as Telecom Serbia, have also launched new, local-language services to reach segments of consumers outside their home market, says Parks.
“Now that Netflix has entered Europe and large players have acquired OTT services such as Lovefilm and Acetrax, the video services market will be increasingly competitive, forcing pay-TV providers to test new services and business models,” said Brett Sappington, Director of Research at Parks Associates.
“Operators in Europe and Asia have dramatically increased their multiscreen offerings, and some are expanding into pure-play OTT services, with offerings available outside their network footprint,” added Sappington, who predicts that these efforts will increase as new OTT offerings throughout Europe, including Netflix and HBO, threaten operators’ premium TV revenues.