Eastern European pay TV will fall from 82 million subscribers in the peak year of 2018 to 74 million in 2027. Peak year 2018 included 17 million analog cable subscribers, which will drop to zero by 2027. The number of digital pay TV subscribers will increase by 9 million over this period.
The number of pay TV subscribers will fall in 18 of the region’s 22 countries between 2021 and 2027. The total will drop by 4 million in 2022 alone, mainly due to Ukraine losing all of its 2.6 million subscribers.
Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Russia will account for half of the region’s pay TV subscribers in 2027. However, Russia will lose 5 million pay TV subscribers between 2021 and 2027 partly as sanctions worsen the economic situation and due to some analog cable homes converting to FTA DTT.”
Sanctions on Russia are expected to continue for some time, with Western companies reluctant to re-enter the Russian market.
Russia is not as dependent on Western content as many other European countries. However, sanctions will result in economic hardship that will adversely affect Russian household spend. Pay TV subscriptions are cheap, so the sector will not be hit that hard.
Murray continued: “We assume that Russia will withdraw from Ukraine before end-2022. After the Russian withdrawal, we expect massive investment in Ukraine by Western companies/governments as well as most refugees returning home.”