Over 2,7 million subscription television service subscribers in September

/ Updated on 28.12.2010

At the end of September 2010, the total number of subscribers to the subscription TV service exceeded 2,7 million, increasing by 65 thousand over the previous quarter and by around 272 thousand over the same quarter of the previous year. The main drivers of the service's growth have been FTTH/FTTB followed by the ''other technologies'' of access (public telephone network (xDSL/IP) and FWA) which together represented around 85% of new customers (in net terms) during the period being reported.

The cable TV distribution service accounted for around 53% of all subscribers to subscription TV - 1.4 percentage points less than in the previous quarter. ''Other technologies'' and FTTH/B grew together by about 2 percentage points representing 18.3% and 4.2% of the total respectively. The weight of DTH fell to 24.7% of subscribers.

In regional terms, this distribution varies greatly. Despite the decline in the weight of cable, this technology remains clearly dominant in Lisbon, Madeira, the North and in the Algarve. In the Azores, the proportion between DTH and cable TV is very similar.  In the Centre and Alentejo regions DTH is dominant, and in the latter of these regions ''other technologies'' are used by over a third of subscribers.

Grupo ZON/TV Cabo continued to have the largest share of subscription TV subscribers (59.2%). PTC remains the second largest subscription TV operator with a 28.3% share of subscribers, increasing its share by 1.8 points over the previous quarter. The third largest operator continues to be Cabovisão, with a share of 10%.

Four million cabled households

In the period being reported, there were four million cabled households for all operators, 0.2% more than in the previous quarter and 1.6% more than reported for the same period in 2009.

The Lisbon area continues to have the biggest concentration of cabled households (45%).

The number of subscribers to the cable television service fell by 0.2% over the previous quarter to 1,44 million; whereas the number of subscribers benefiting from digital formats continues to grow. Totalling over one million, digital subscribers account for 70% of the service's subscribers.

At the end of September, there were 670 thousand customers of the television service using Direct To Home (DTH) technology, 1.9% or 13 thousand customers more than in the previous quarter and 7.4% or 46 thousand more users compared to September 2009. The increase in the number of customers results above all from the growth reported in the number of PTC customers, especially in the North and Centre.

In the same period there were 1,4 million households cabled with optical fibre (FTTH/B) and the number of subscription TV subscribers with the service supported over optical fibre (FTTH/B) increased by 34.7% to 113 thousand.

The period also saw the emergence of a new offer of subscription TV over optical fibre (FTTH/B), launched by Vodafone, joining the 3 existing offers: from Optimus, ZON/TV CABO (ex-TVTel) and PTC. These offers are not necessarily present in all regions of the country.

Meanwhile, 87% of subscribers are concentrated in Lisbon and the North.

As far as other technologies are concerned, particularly the offer of television over the public telephone network (xDSL/IP) and over FWA, there are currently 4 operators providing offers of this type: AR Telecom (using fixed wireless access - FWA), Optimus, PTC and Vodafone, the latter using the public telephone network (xDSL/IP). The subscription TV subscribers supported using these platforms and technologies totalled 496 thousand, around 27 thousand more than in the previous quarter.

PTC was the main driver of this trend, in particular in the North and Centre regions.

Separable revenues from the subscription television service totalled around 541 million euros in the third quarter, an increase of 12% year-on-year. Of this total, around 64% refer to cable customers, 27% to DTH and the remaining 9% to customers using other technologies. These revenues are derived from stand-alone offers or multiple play offers where the television component can be separated.

As far as non-separable revenues are concerned, derived from packages of services which include subscription TV, these totalled 149 million euros, rising by 71% year-on-year and referring essentially to triple play packages associated with technologies using the public telephone network (xDSL/IP), which are the technologies that have also seen the most growth in terms of subscribers.