Spanish pay-TV customers and revenues hit new heights in Q1
The number of Spanish pay-television subscribers reached a new high of 6.1 million, and revenue in this sector climbed by 15 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, according to new figures.
A report from the CNMC, the Spanish competition regulator, shows that the number of pay-TV customers in the January to March period was up 5.5 per cent, from 5.8 million in the same period a year earlier, although growth has slowed compared to previous quarters.
Of the total figure, 3.48 million subscribers rely on IPTV services (xDSL or FTTH), 1.51 million on cable TV, 860,000 on satellite TV and 240,000 on web TV (see chart below).
IPTV and cable TV accounted for 521,000 new subscribers in the last year, while there was a decrease of 193,000 satellite TV subscribers.
The breakdown by operator shows that Movistar, the satellite and IPTV service of telecoms giant Telefónica, had 3.6 million pay-TV subscribers in the first quarter (down 318,000), ahead of rival telecoms operators Vodafone, with 1.3 million (up 275,000), and Orange, with 520,000 (up 135,000).
Total pay-television revenues in the January-to-March period amounted to a record €520.7 million ($616.8 million), up 15 per cent from €453.2 million in the first quarter of 2016.
Movistar accounted for €423.1 million , Vodafone for €42.6 million and Orange for €20.2 million.
Free-to-air revenues excluding public subsidies climbed by 6 per cent, from €437.8 million to €465.2 million, of which major players Atresmedia and Mediaset España accounted for €210.8 million and €196.1 million respectively.
Pay-TV growth has been driven to some extent by increased demand for premium soccer, with the major live packages for Spain's LaLiga held by Mediapro and its partner BeIN Sports, the international pay-TV operator, and Movistar Plus, with channels available to paying customers of Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange.
In June, Mediapro and BeIN Sports landed exclusive live rights to the Uefa Champions League and Europa League for the next three seasons in a deal understood to be worth €1.05 billion, although the telecoms operators have expressed concerns at possible hikes in carriage fees, insisting they do not want to overcharge customers for future access to the matches.