Western Europe’s Direct-To-Home (DTH) satellite platforms are frequently characterized by stagnating subscriber numbers and upgrading of their services to secure and increase revenues from exisiting subscribers.
The most notable exception remains the UK’s BSkyB, which continues to build its subscriber baseand, at 9.536 million subscribers at the end of Q3 2009, is closing on its 10 million-subscriber target for 2010. BSkyB offers the largest selection of high definition (HD) channels outside of the US and has used them to build a total of 1.6 million HD homes – many more than some smaller platforms have for their entire standard definition (SD) portfolio. What is more, the News Corp-owned platform has persuaded them all to pay an additional £10 (€11) per month in subscription fees, a model replicated in many, but not all, of their Western European markets with varying degrees of success.
The new HD receivers are also capable of delivering television content through the internet. BSkyB has confirmed that it will launch a pull video-on-demand service during 2010 –challenging itself to persuade subscribers to connect their receivers to broadband – and later that year add content in 3D. The latter is more likely to serve as a demonstration of the platform’s technological prowess, given that sub- scribers will be required to purchase a new 3D capable television, even if the set-top receiver is capable of handling 3D with just an over-the-air download.
Canal+ has already launched a pull-VOD service through its eye-catching hybrid receiver known as Le Cube. In Scandinavia, Viasat is using progressive downloads to deliver content to its subscriber base, its rival Canal Digital plans to go hybrid in April next year. The rise of the hybrid receiver, which is also making its mark in the DTT sector, is a natural reaction to the launch of VOD services, both from cable networks, and over- the-top providers.
The delivery of linear channels by satellite remains an economic way of delivering content to mass audiences, but the popularity of on-demand, offering ‘what you want when you want it’, means that the DTH operators cannot be left behind. Broadband connectivity can provide a one-off drama or comedy with the possibility that satellite might still be used for, say, the top 50 programmes from a catch-up TV service that could be stored on the increasing numbers of personal video recorders (PVRs) that have been deployed.
This new 20,000-word report from Broadband TV News is written by Robert Briel and Julian Clover.
Key benefits… you will understand
Subscriber numbers and market data from 20 territories in Western Europe
How public and private broadcasters are using satellite as an extension of their terrestrial services.
How Triple Play is becoming as important for satellite as cable, while shoring up revenues against plateauing subscriber levels
How new technologies, such as PVR, HD and 3D, are diminishing the importance of zapper boxes
How Sky Deutschland is remodeling the Premiere DTH business
How IPTV operator Orange is using satellite to supplement its broadband offer
Available in the PDF format only
Download Contents and Sample Pages
Report Authors: Robert Briel and Julian Clover
Published November 2009