Quarterly Television Monitoring Service
As at March 2014, the top pay TV groups maintain their respective positions except for the switch of ranks between Essel Group (15.4m subscriber base) and 21st Century Fox (15.1m) where the former surpassed the latter’s subscriber base thanks to the increasing cable digitisation and still lucrative satellite TV market in India. 21st Century Fox, comprising a majority interest in Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia and minority interests in Tata Sky and BskyB, was demoted to 6th position from 5th place.
Direct TV (34.7m) is the clear frontrunner leading by 5.6m against MI&IT China (29.1m). Liberty Global is at 3rd place (23m), Comcast at 4th place (22.6m), Dish Network at 7th place (14.1m), Vivendi at 8th place (13.7m), Time Warner Cable at 9th position (11.4m) and lastly, BskyB (10.4m).
Vivendi’s recent SFR disposal would take the group two places down to 10th place. SFR contributed 3.5m IPTV subscribers to the group’s total base, which would leave Vivendi with about 10.2m base after disposal. And perhaps, the most significant M&A transaction this year is the pending AT&T merger with DirecTV. If successful, the newly merged company would have over 40m base with AT&T contributing over 5m IPTV subscribers. This would cement the new group’s position in the top 10 pay TV groups. Besides, it would take MI&IT China quite a long time to catch up with the new group in the short term as it appears to be losing its subscriber growth momentum from 5m – 6m quarterly adds in 2013 to about 2m – 3m adds in 2014.
*Note that the ranking is based on proportionate subscribers. Proportionate subscribers refer to the Group's subscribers based on the Group's interest. If the Group's ownership is more than 50%, then the company's full subscribers are attributed to the Group.