SES, Luxembourg based satellite platform operator, has announced it reached 367 million global TV households directly or indirectly via satellite by the end of 2019, 12 million up on a year earlier.
This comes at a time when the DTH (Direct To Home) sector generally is shedding subscribers to alternative platforms around the world, especially IPTV and streaming over the internet. The SES claim of gains does not contradict that downward trend, because it also includes homes reached indirectly over satellite via some other platform on the ground.
The findings come from the company’s annual Satellite Monitor market research, which according to the operator validate SES’s position as the world’s leading video content distributor via satellite. The company insisted this highlights the important role that satellite continues to play in reaching the largest possible audience globally.
Much of the 12 million increase is attributed to satellite and cable, which grew by 9 million in 2019 to 153 million and 149 million homes respectively. IPTV and terrestrial TV grew among SES subscribers by a combined 3 million to 43 million and 21 million homes respectively. However, these are figures confined to SES’s customer base and are not representative of the worldwide picture, where IPTV’s base is skewed upwards by its huge numbers in China in particular.
The Satellite Monitor study also showed that SES’s technical reach has increased across several continents, including Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific (APAC), and Latin America (LATAM). Europe continues to be the strongest market for SES, with 168 million total households served by the SES fleet, up by 1 million from 2018, followed by North America at 69 million.
In LATAM, SES has captured an audience of 42 million households, up from 34 million households reported in 2018, partly through launch of a new satellite, SES 14, boosting cable and IPTV growth in the region. The year was also the first SES collected results from Indonesia and the Philippines. In total, SES serves 39 million APAC households with DTH feeds.
The research also found that SES delivers digital television to 13 million households in the Middle East and 35 million homes in Africa. It also shed light on several key trends, including the transition from analog to digital TV and the continuing rise of HD broadcast. End consumers in Ghana and Nigeria are choosing satellite TV for its better value proposition and free-to-air offerings, rather than purchasing new hardware and switching to digital terrestrial TV.
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