Telecoms operators now provide around a fifth of pay-television subscriptions worldwide. That is according to figures from Ovum, which include satellite services such as DIRECTV, which was recently acquired by AT&T. However, the informitv Multiscreen Index also shows that telco services account for almost 20% of the subscribers of 100 leading pay-television services worldwide.

The Ovum research suggests that operations owned or controlled by telcos accounted for 140 million retail pay-television customer connections globally at the end of 2014. This rose to 177 million during 2015, which is 19% of the total pay-television subscriber base.

Ovum chooses to define Telco TV as “any subscription-based pay-TV operations provided directly by an operator whose core business is in the provision of voice telecom and/or broadband access services”.

With the increasing emphasis being given to broadband by many pay-television providers that definition appears rather broad.

As such, Ovum says the Telco TV universe includes a large proportion of cable and satellite as well as IPTV customers.

Jonathan Doran of Ovum, who wrote the Telco TV Forecast, said: “The growing share of ‘traditional’ TV platforms within the Telco TV base reflects a recent shift towards a global consolidation of pay-TV operations, in which telcos are playing a significant part.”

The increase in subscriptions that Ovum therefore counts as Telco TV is largely accounted for by corporate consolidation, such as the acquisition of DIRECTV by AT&T, taking it from fewer than 6 million to nearly 38 million subscribers.

“While the flurry of M&A activity has boosted numbers of Telco TV connections over cable and satellite, IPTV is also still growing, both organically and via gradual migration from traditional platforms,” he said.

Another reflection of the relative share of telco television services is provided by the informitv Multiscreen Index, based on 100 leading pay-television service providers worldwide.

Just over 19% of subscribers to services in the Multiscreen Index are to telco television platforms. That is to say services that are predominantly delivered over telco networks, either through fibre-optic or copper connections.

Multiscreen Index Platform 2015 Q3

The leading telco television service in the Multiscreen Index is KT in South Korea, with 6.40 million subscribers, up 0.77 million year on year. The index does not include services in China, which do not report figures.

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.