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Strategy Analytics: UK seeing the largest Pay TV decline in Europe

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The UK suffered the largest decline in Pay TV subscriptions of any European country last year, with the stats suggesting the cord-cutting trend is starting to cross over from the U.S.

This is according to new research by Strategy Analytics, which found that the UK had a net decline of 424,000 Pay TV households in 2018 – if you discount online video services like Netflix and Now TV.

The analysis, which only looked at traditional Pay TV services delivered via cable, satellite, IPTV and terrestrial, pointed out “less significant” rates of declines in markets like Denmark, Switzerland and Germany.

However, it also said Pay TV is still growing in countries like Russia, France, Poland and Spain, where the market is generally less mature.

Overall, Strategy Analytics said the number of Pay TV subscriptions Europe-wide rose slightly to 128.5 million in 2018, but predicted they will “begin to decline within the next year or two” after the growth rate fell from 2.2% in 2017 to 1.3% in 2018.

“We have seen the cord-cutting trend for several years in the U.S., where the Pay TV business is more mature,” said Strategy Analytics’ Director of TV and Media Strategies, Michael Goodman.

“Now it is starting to hit major markets in Europe, and this spells trouble for Pay TV operators which cannot adapt to the needs of today’s viewers. The threat of falling subscriber revenues and stronger OTT rivals will also increase pressure from investors for further consolidation across the industry.”

The research said that Sky/Comcast and Liberty Global remain the leading Pay TV providers in Europe, with subscriber market shares of 14.9% and 13.8% respectively.

However, it also noted that Europe’s Pay TV market remains “highly fragmented,” with the top five players accounting for less than half of all subscribers.

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