Emerging markets hold the key to subscription and revenue growth in satellite pay-television. Subscriptions to satellite television services reached 196 million homes in 2013 and revenues passed $97 billion, as reported by Euroconsult. Emerging markets now account for 60% of global subscribers and nearly all growth in subscriptions to satellite television.

In recent years, emerging markets have been the most active in rolling out new platforms, increasing subscriber bases, growing revenues and adding TV channels. They have also reduced the technical gap with platforms in mature markets by launching value-added services.

Asia accounted for 30% of satellite pay-television subscribers in 2013, followed by North America with 19%, Latin America with 15%, and Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe with 14% each.

Emerging Markets accounted for 26% of revenues in 2013, compared to 15% in 2008. However, average revenue per user is around $22 a month in emerging markets, compared to $61 a month in mature markets.

“Emerging markets are home to over 80% of the nearly 160 active platforms,” said Dimitri Buchs of Euroconsult, who edited their new report on satellite pay-television. “Over 95% of platforms launched in the past three years operate in these markets.” The share of revenues coming from emerging markets is lower due to the large availability of low-cost services in these countries, but it has also increased in recent years, from 15% in 2008 to 26% in 2013.

Apart from new platform launches, a growing trend in emerging markets has been the expansion into new markets for existing players. This has been particularly true in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

The launch of 60 platforms in the past five years has led to an oversupply in certain emerging markets including Indonesia, which had the highest number of active players in November 2014.

Fast-growing satellite pay-TV markets such as Russia and Brazil began to consolidate in 2014 following a slowdown in growth in previous years.

Several of the largest mature markets, including the United States, France and Japan, are expected to see a contraction in satellite subscribers, revenues and number of television channels broadcast.

Satellite pay-TV platforms will increasingly expand their ecosystems to become cross-media platforms by rolling out TV Everywhere and over-the-top services in parallel to their linear television offerings, enabling them to maintain a strong foothold in their national and regional markets. They will also seek to expand their reach beyond their existing subscriber base by rolling out standalone offerings available to households that do not subscribe to their satellite services.

Euroconsult forecasts that emerging markets will account for nearly all growth in subscriptions, revenues and television channels by 2023. By then it predicts global subscriptions will reach 340 million, with emerging markets accounting for nearly 80% of the total.

The informitv Multiscreen Index shows that the top ten satellite services added 1.23 million subscribers between them in the third quarter of 2014, despite combined losses of 40,000 subscribers by the two largest services, DIRECTV and Dish Network in the United States. In contrast, Dish TV, Airtel and Videocon added 1.20 million subscribers between them.

Satellite Pay-TV Key Economics & Prospects is available from Euroconsult. The Multiscreen Index is published quarterly by informitv, tracking the performance of 100 cable, satellite and telco television and video services around the world, providing rankings by region, mode of delivery and quarterly net subscriber gains or losses.