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While telcos and cablecos slug it out, DTH keeps growing at 14% per year

26 Jul 2010

A lot of the recent limelight has been on telcos and cablecos battling each other for market share, in both the pay-TV and the telecoms markets. In the meantime, satellite direct-to-home (DTH) service providers have been quietly growing their operations and can now claim well over 150 million subscribers, with a good spread of activity across all regions. Their subscriber numbers have been growing by a steady 13%-15% per year, even through the recession.

To put these numbers into context, there are still almost five times as many DTH subscribers as there are IPTV subscribers, and over the last five years DTH operators have enjoyed subscriber growth rates that have been more than double those achieved by their cable TV competitors. As if that were not enough, globally the ARPU for DTH is more than double that achieved by cablecos and telcos. While the ARPU figures are closer in North America, in most countries there is a huge gap between ARPU for DTH and pay-TV services provided over other platforms.

‘It is interesting that while so much marketing emphasis has been placed on the importance of triple-play bundles, DTH operators have handily outperformed both telcos and cablecos while essentially selling a single service’ said TeleGeography’s John Dinsdale. ‘I don’t want to oversimplify a complex picture and I certainly don’t want to downplay the importance of bundling strategies. However, there is sometimes a strong argument that it’s better to do one thing and to do it exceptionally well. DTH will continue to increase its share of the pay-TV market over the next five years’ he added.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Pay-TV research service provides quarterly tracking of over 530 pay-TV operators and forecasts for over 170 countries. It includes the industry’s most detailed tracking of competition between telcos and cablecos.

For further information, please contact: John Dinsdale ( or call an account manager on +1 202 741 0020

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