The pay-TV versus connected, smart or Internet TV question feels like an age-old debate for those of us that have been reading and writing about it over the past three years (or more) in the digital marketing space. (For some nostalgia, check out our Internet TV is the Future post from 2010). Nevertheless, the question has been raised once again after a report by Informa Telecoms & Media was published a couple of weeks ago indicating that Western Europe has seen its first-ever decline in pay-TV subscribers. This of course created a flurry of articles written about the topic from The Hollywood Reporter to Variety to Television Business International.
Where articles or blog posts in the past may have speculated on future trends to come in regards to pay-TV, the Informa report shows hard numbers for the first time since the launch of the industry in the 1980s. ”In total there were 92.6mn pay-TV subscribers in Western Europe by the end of last year, according to Informa, with a total of 384,000 lost during the course of 2012″ (Source: IP&TV News). The majority of the loses were in Spain and Italy which one could speculate might have more to do with economic conditions versus industry trends. Regardless, pay-TV revenues were forecasted to remain flat between 2011-2016 by a report by Digital TV Research in 2011 (Source: Broadband TV News). Was that report premature or is this just a sign of the times? Will the number of pay-TV subscribers continue to fall in 2013 or go back up once economic conditions improve?
While various reports indicate that consumers are simultaneously online with laptop, tablet, and mobile devices while watching TV, whether those 384,000 former pay-TV subscribers get used to the various digital options available for their viewing pleasure remains to be seen (Source: Preview Networks Blog, eMarketer). Either way, the industry seems to be prepared for this trend. Around the same time the Informa report was released, Nielsen announced that they are redefining their ‘television’ measurement mechanisms to include non-traditional sources of TV viewing such as Internet-connected devices like game consoles and tablets. These changes will take affect during the 2013-14 television season beginning in September (Source: The Hollywood Reporter, MediaPost). Interesting timing indeed!
About Preview Networks
Preview Networks is a content marketing platform for brands and content aggregation and syndication platform for publishers. We provide the tools for brands to centrally distribute and manage marketing and PR content across media destinations, devices, and commerce platforms; allowing media partners to automate content acquisition delivering audience and advertising revenue growth. Acquired by Rightster in February 2013, our combined offering strengthens video distribution, marketing, and monetisation services globally.