Satellite Drives DTV Subscribers in Europe, Says IDC

LONDON – MAY 15, 2003 – According to a new study by IDC, the number of subscribers to digital pay TV services in Western Europe totals 24 million, a number expected to increase to 49 million by 2007. Satellite remains the dominant platform driving subscriber take-up, with cable and DSL showing insignificant challenges in most Western European countries.


“Whereas countries like the U.K., France, and Spain have managed to achieve high levels of DTV subscriber take-up, there are still countries that are lagging behind in the take-up of DTV services, such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, “ commented Nicky Walton, research analyst with IDC’s European Telecommunications Services program.

The pattern of consolidation that has occurred primarily among satellite operators in 2002 is just the start of a trend towards further operator consolidation. This will lead to the trend of a rise in pan-European players operating across multiple regions and countries, as well as an increase in vertical and horizontal integration among media companies and telcos. This situation will become exacerbated unless the cost of content is addressed at a European level, since content prices and existing legislation have kept market entry and competition in the developed markets fairly non-existent.

"Broadcasting has a cultural importance that is different to telecommunications and other forms of content delivery as it is far more ubiquitous and influential. The expansion of DTV is finally having the necessary and deep-seated impact that is required in relation to the development of economic policy decisions, as well as influencing social and media policy relating to the production and deployment of indigenous content," Walton said.

The study, Digital Television Services in Western Europe: Forecast and Analysis, 2002–2007 (IDC #HT01K), examines the progress of the DTV market in Western Europe. It provides a detailed analysis of the Western European DTV market and includes five-year DTV subscription forecasts for digital satellite, cable, and DSL platforms. The study provides a country overview of the 16 European member states and examines changing business models in relation to the development of digital terrestrial FTA DTV services.

To purchase this document, please contact your local IDC office or visit