Sky has become the single largest pay-television provider in Europe with the acquisition of Sky Italia and a majority interest in Sky Deutschland. The former British Sky Broadcasting will now be known simply as Sky, serving customers in Italy, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The informitv Multiscreen Index ranks Sky as the second largest group of pay-television services in the world, with a total of 19.35 million television subscribers.
Sky gained 46,000 television customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland in the third quarter of 2014. Sky Italia lost 21,000, while Sky Deutschland added 96,000, so together they gained 121,000 subscribers.
The consolidated Sky is now ahead of the 14.33 million digital television subscribers to Liberty Global services, which include Virgin Media. It is still some way behind DIRECTV, which has 32.68 million, including its operations in Latin America. AT&T could jump to the top of the table if its planned acquisition of DIRECTV goes through.
Comcast remains the largest single pay-television service, with 22.38 million subscribers. That could rise to around 30 million if its planned merger with Time Warner Cable is approved.
“While pay-television approaches saturation in the mature market of the United States, there’s still room for growth in Europe and other regions,” says Dr William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “Sky is a leading provider of multiscreen services across different screens, from traditional television to tablets and smartphones. As a pan-European operator it can achieve greater growth and economies of scale in an increasingly competitive sector.”
Seven of the top 10 television services in the United States ranked in the Multiscreen Index lost subscribers over the last quarter. Subscriber losses from cable and satellite were largely offset by the gains of telecommunications operators AT&T and Verizon. There was a net loss of 45,000 digital television homes across these ten leading services, although that represents just 0.05% of their subscriber base.
Worldwide, the ten largest groups with multiple services, as ranked by the Multiscreen Index, added over 1.60 million subscribers in the last quarter and 7.93 million year on year.
The Multiscreen Index tracks trends in television services and provides an accessible compilation of top 10 tables and charts showing annual and quarterly changes in subscriber numbers. The index of 100 leading pay-television services worldwide provides a context for comparing changes in customer numbers by region and mode of delivery, as well as ranking those with the largest subscriber gains or losses.