Subscription Television Services: cable and satellite (DTH) - 2nd quarter 2008
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Title: "Subscription Television Services: cable and satellite (DTH) - 2nd quarter 2008"
1) The historical series of data on classic family households has been updated.
2) The historical sets of indicators calculated using the population have been revised in accordance with details published by Statistics Portugal (INE) in May 2008.
3) The data on the Centre, Lisbon and Alentejo NUTS has been corrected.
This report presents the development of the subscription television service while taking into account, for the first time, the various technologies in the market: distribution over cable networks, by satellite (DTH), over the public telephone network (xDSL/IP) and using fixed wireless access technology (FWA).
Chapter 2 presents developments seen in the cable television service (CDS), Chapter 3 presents development in the satellite distribution service (DTH), while Chapter 4 looks at the distribution of the subscription television service by other means (IPTV etc.). Chapter 5 gives presents an overall review of all services. It should be noted that, for the first time, the number of subscribers to the cable television service in digital formats is given, along with the subscriber shares of the main providers.
Cable television distribution service (CDS)
The development of the cable television services, gauged in terms of cabled households and in terms of subscribers, is presented below.
- Cabled households1
As of the end of 2Q08, the total number of cabled households for all operators stood at around 4.21 million1 (see Table 1), 75 thousand more households than in the previous quarter and 281 thousand more than recorded at the same time in 2007 (+7.2 per cent).
The increases seen reflect, above all, the expansion of the networks of principle operators in the Greater Porto area and of various operators in the Greater Lisbon areas.
Table 1 (See complete document in PDF)1
The Alentejo continues to be the region with the biggest year-on-year percentage increase in the number of cabled households, due to the introduction of cable distribution networks by an alternative operator in the area of the Alto Alentejo at the end of 2007.
No major changes were seen in the distribution of cabled households by region (see Graph 1), with the Lisbon area continuing to have the biggest concentration of cabled households (44 per cent)1.
Graph 1. Distribution of cable households by NUTS II - 2Q08
In the second quarter of 2008, the number of subscribers to the cable television service totalled around 1.5 thousand subscribers, down 0.1 per cent on the previous quarter. Compared to the same quarter of 2007, this figure rose by 2.9 per cent (see Table 2), representing the addition of around 42 thousand new subscribers.
Of these users, 466 thousand benefited from digital formats, corresponding to 31 per cent of the total CDS subscriber base. Almost half of these subscriber were located within the Lisbon region, while Madeira was the region with the highest penetration rate of digital format subscribers (64 per cent).
Table 2 (See complete document in PDF)
The change over the quarter in the number of subscribers can largely be put down to the drop seen in the number of subscribers of one of the main alternative operators, particularly in the Lisbon region. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the North region had the strongest growth in absolute terms, resulting in the most part from the activity of the largest Portuguese cable operator.
Meanwhile the penetration rate calculated in terms of cabled households reached 39 per cent3.
Graph 2. Subscribers as percentage of total households
In 2Q08, the distribution of subscribers of cable television by region remained practically unaltered. (see Graph 3).
Graph 3. Distribution of subscribers to the cable television signal distribution service by NUTS II - 2Q08
Subscribers to satellite television distribution service (DTH)
In the second quarter of 2008, the television distribution service using Direct To Home (DTH) technology grew by 5.1 per cent over the previous quarter and 18 per cent compared to the same quarter of 2007 (see Table 3). In absolute terms, DTH now has 525 thousand subscribers, 26 thousand more than in the previous quarter, and 80 thousand more than in the same quarter of the previous year.
The growth seen for this form of television distribution during this period is due, above all, to the DTH offer of the main operators of the electronic communication markets. This operator uses this technology as a complement to its offer supported over the fixed telecommunications network. At the end of 2Q08, there were DTH customers in all the country's municipalities and all municipalities had, at the very least, two DTH offers.
The regions of the North and Centre continue to be those registering the highest growth in absolute terms. However, percentage growth rates in all regions are very high.
Table 3 (See complete document in PDF)
The North and Centre Regions are also those with the highest number of subscribers to this service, both with around 30 per cent of the total.
Graph 4. Distribution of subscribers to satellite television distribution service (DTH), by NUTS II - 2Q08
Subscribers to the subscription television service - other technologies
This chapter looks at the remaining subscription TV offers, including those supported over the fixed telephone network and FWA. In 2Q08 there were 3 existing offers: 2 over the public telephone network (xDSL/IP) and one over FWA.
Since this is the first time that ICP-ANACOM has compiled this information in a systematic way, it is not possible to provide comparisons with previous periods. However, these offers had a total of 118 thousand subscribers as at the end of 2Q08, already representing 5.5 per cent of the total subscriber base of subscription television.
Table 4 (See complete document in PDF)
It should be noted that these offers are only available on the mainland, particularly in the Lisbon region, which has over half of all the country's subscribers, and in Greater Porto.
Graph 5. Distribution of subscription television subscribers - other technologies, by NUTS II - 2Q08
In view of the growth of the service in global terms and the inclusion of the other means of access, the percentage of subscribers of the subscription television in terms of households rose to 38.3 per cent at the end of the second quarter of 2008. In the autonomous regions the penetration of these services continues to be above average, although in general the growth rates have been higher on the mainland, as a result of the expansion strategies of the largest operators, who have made particular use of DTH and the new IP based technologies.
Graph 6. Evolution of total subscribers to subscription television service in proportion to total households
In 2Q08 the total number of subscribers to the service of subscription television was around 2.1 million, representing around 20 subscribers per 100 inhabitants (see Table 5).
Table 5 (See complete document in PDF)
In terms of geographical distribution of subscribers, it can be seen that due to the introduction of the new DTH and IPTV offers growth in the regions of mainland Portugal has been outpacing growth in the island regions. (see Graph 7).
Graph 7. Distribution of total subscribers to subscription television services by NUTS II - 2Q08
However, penetration of these services continues to be above average in the Autonomous Regions.
Graph 8. Penetration of subscription television services by distribution network compared to total households - 2Q08
The cable TV distribution service now comprises around 70 per cent of subscribers, while DTH represents around 24.5 per cent. As previously mentioned, other technologies represent around 5.5 per cent of the customers of this service.
Meanwhile, in regional terms this distribution varies considerably. In Madeira and Lisbon cable TV dominates, while in Alentejo, the Centre and Azores over 45 per cent of subscribers use DTH. Lisbon has the highest penetration of IP based TV - 7.8 per cent (see Table 6).
Table 6 (See complete document in PDF)
It should be emphasised that DTH continues to grow faster than the cable TV service (see Table 6 and Graph 9), thereby gradually increasing its relative weighting in the market.
Graph 9. Trend in percentage of subscription television subscribers by type of distribution network - 2Q08
For the first time the subscriber shares of the subscription television service are being reported and are given below. As can be seen in the following table (Table 7), Grupo ZON's share of subscribers stood at 74.3 per cent. Cabovisão had a share of 14 per cent, followed by PTC with a share of 5.4 per cent.
Table 7 (See complete document in PDF)
Note: There are operators active in specific market segments. The relative position that the operators occupy in this Table should not be taken as an indication of the quality of the provided services or of the performance of these operators in the segments where they are active.
1 The provision of this service by more than one operator in the same area implies that multiple cabling of the same household is possible. This means that in the sum of cabled households for all operators, some households may be counted more than once. This effect is evident, for instance, in the Lisbon area, where the sum of all cabled households is higher than the sum of all households. This fact is having greater impact with the increase of competition among operators.
2 Account should be taken of the fact that the number of classic family households may include households that are not permanently occupied, especially second homes. This effect is particularly pronounced in specific geographical regions (for example in the Algarve).
3 Note that this indicator was calculated approximately, due to the problems arising from the possibility of multiple cabling of the same household, mentioned above.
Cable: Set of isolated conductors, covered with a protective layer.
FWA - Fixed Wireless Access: Technology which allows operators to supply customers with a direct connection to their telecommunications network through a fixed wireless connection at their premises to the operator's local exchange, instead of a connection with copper cables or fibre optic.
IP - Internet Protocol: Switching protocol of data packets to route and send information over the Internet.
Satellite: Body which orbits another due fundamentally to the force of attraction (gravity) exercised on it. In telecommunications it means the transmitting or retransmitting radio communications station which orbits the Earth. A satellite transmits or retransmits a signal to the destination terrestrial station(s). Satellites may be used to transmit television signals, telephone signals and/or data signals.
xDSL - x Digital Subscriber Line: Digital subscriber line technologies, generically termed DSL, which are capable of transforming copper lines (for example common telephone lines) into high speed digital lines capable of supporting advanced services of greater bandwidth, such as fast Internet access and video-on-demand. ADSL (Asymmetric DSL), HDSL (High data rate DSL) and VDSL (Very high data rate asymmetric DSL) are some of its variants.
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