Despite stiff competition, satellite still making strides thanks to emerging markets

Stéphanie Villaret, Co-Head of Satellite Practice at IDATE


Stéphanie Villaret
Co-Head of Satellite Practice at IDATE


Satellite is holding onto its position in the global TV broadcasting market when going up against terrestrial networks. At the end of 2012, it had a roughly 27% share of the market and rising steadily, in both free to air (FTA) broadcasting and pay-TV distribution. But the situation does differ from region to region. Satellite’s growth rate in the DTH (direct to home) and especially the pay-TV market has been tremendous in a great many emerging countries. It has become a prime purveyor of TV programming, and helped drive the rise of pay-TV in Eastern Europe, in Latin and in Africa/the Middle East.

Satellite's global market share at the end of 2012 (% of TV homes & % of pay-TV homes)

Source: IDATE, rapport d'approfondissement "Le marché mondial de la télévision par satellite", Août 2013

Main evolutions of the Satellite TV market

  • Global demand for satellite broadcasting capacity is expected to increase by an average 4% a year between now and 2017. The market is forecast at close to €5.4 billion in 2017 – which translates into an average annual growth rate of around 3% for market revenue over the next four years.
  • The rise in demand for satellite broadcasting capacity is being driven chiefly by:
    • A thriving TV market in emerging regions, which means an increase in the number of TV channels on offer (SD and HD) and the rollout of new pay-TV packages – particularly national DTH plans;
    • The development across the board of high definition TV channels, both free to air and paid. HD channels are expected to account for 20% of all channels broadcast worldwide in 2017 – keeping in mind that SD/HD simulcasting is likely to continue on through 2013-2017. A total of more than 7,000 HD channels are expected to be available in 2017, compared to slightly less than 5,000 in 2013, of which close to 40% will be in North America;
    • The gradual development of ultra HD starting in 2015, with the launch of the first test channels, and later the rollout of the first UHD channels – primarily in developed markets, but also in the more advanced emerging regions. This will have an only minimal effect on demand for satellite broadcasting capacity from 2013 to 2017, but the new service will seriously drive up demand further down the road.
  • The following actions will help satellite operators boost their business:
    • Optimise satellite capacity to supply emerging regions, and possibly acquire local providers;
    • Lobby to promote the premium aspect of satellite broadcasting solutions;
    • Successfully integrate hybrid architectures and become a vital part of digital home solutions in developed regions. The challenge here will be to transition successfully from linear TV broadcasting, at which satellite excels, to the world of video on demand and interactivity – which means delivering value-added solutions for both media companies and viewers.

Our newest Satellite television worldwide market report delivers careful analysis and looks into the future of satellite TV broadcasting – at a time when this market that accounts for 78% of satellite service revenue is having to contend with a series of threats, from 2013 to 2017.

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