Spanish pay-TV subscribers climb, but revenue down, in Q1
The number of pay-television subscribers in Spain reached nearly 8 million in the first quarter of 2020, although overall audiovisual revenue was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest report on the TV sector from the CNMC, the Spanish competition regulator, shows that there were 7.8 million paying customers by the end of March, up 8 per cent from 7.2 million at the close of 2019, and 15 per cent from 6.8 million a year earlier.
The new figure comprises 4.74 million for IPTV, 1.29 million for cable TV, 525,000 for satellite TV and 1.28 million for online TV, with the latter accounting for most of the growth, up from 648,000 in December of last year.
Movistar, the pay-TV operator owned by telecoms giant Telefónica, which holds premium rights to top sports including Spanish and European club soccer and Formula 1 motor racing, remains the dominant player in the sector, with 4 million subscribers, ahead of Vodafone, which no longer offers soccer, with 1.4 million.
However, Movistar's revenue in the first quarter fell by 5.5 per cent to €413.6 million ($490.1 million), according to the CNMC.
Indeed turnover was down across almost all platforms, with IPTV continuing to lead the way, on nearly €400 million, down 1.2 per cent on the previous year, ahead of satellite TV, on €80.8 million, down 23 percent, and cable TV, on €40.7 million, down 6.6 per cent.
Online TV revenue bucked the trend, more than doubling from €12.4 million to €28 million year-on-year.
As Covid-19 forced a lockdown in March, revenue across all audiovisual media, excluding subsidies, fell by 7.1 per cent to €1 billion in the first quarter of 2020. This represented the first decline in the opening three months of the year since 2014. Including subsidies, the total figure came to €1.46 billion.
TV advertising revenue was particularly hit, dropping by 9.5 per cent year-on-year to €392.4 million.
In terms of consumption of free-to-air and pay-TV, DTT accounted for 75.1 per cent, cable TV and IPTV for 23.2 per cent and satellite TV for 1.7 per cent in Q1.
Average TV consumption was 3 hours and 51 minutes per person per day, up 20 minutes from the previous quarter and eight minutes from the same quarter of 2019.
Commercial broadcasters Mediaset Espana, which owns free-to-air channel Telecinco, and Atresmedia, the parent of rival Antena 3, led the way with 28.2 and 26.3 points of quarterly audience share, respectively.