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Pay TV in Europe - statistics & facts

Pay TV, which refers to subscription-based cable or satellite television services, has remained a leading source of news and entertainment across the globe. In recent years, however, a wave of technological advancements, over-the-top (OTT) video content, and online streaming services have challenged and transformed the pay TV industry like never before. Global pay TV revenue has declined since 2016, and this trend is unlikely to reverse, given the growing availability and popularity of on-demand content. Viewing behavior and preferences are also changing throughout Europe. While European markets such as the UK, France, and Germany are among the countries with the highest pay TV revenue worldwide, cord-cutters are ringing in a new era of digital home entertainment. But while the streaming revolution is already in full swing in mature digital markets in Western Europe, pay TV is only slowly bidding goodbye in other regions.

Subscribers and revenues

Pay TV subscriber counts and revenues have steadily decreased in recent years, not least because of the ongoing proliferation of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms and other digital video alternatives. Audiences generally prefer non-linear video entertainment options and streaming services over traditional TV offerings because they can schedule their viewing times flexibly and choose from a much larger content catalog at similar or even more affordable prices. But while these downward trends in viewership and revenues can be observed on a pan-European basis, there are visible regional differences when it comes to how rapidly audiences are turning away from pay TV. Pay TV revenues in Western Europe, for example, are set to decline by four billion U.S. dollars between 2020 and 2026. In Eastern Europe, which has lower revenue figures but still boasts one of the highest pay TV penetration rates worldwide, the overall number of pay tv households is expected to decline by nearly five million during that same time frame.

Who are the leading pay TV operators?

While the European pay TV landscape comprises various regional broadcasters, one provider continues to top multiple market charts at once. In 2021, Sky was the leading pay TV company in the UK and Italy, while also ranking among the three most popular pay TV operators in Germany. The Comcast-owned company serves over 20 million viewers in six European countries, and seeing that the service is also constantly expanding its streaming portfolio, it will likely remain the top entertainment and communications brand in the region for a while. Other major European players include Vodafone, which had the highest pay TV subscriber share in Germany and second-highest share in Spain in 2021, as well as Telia, which dominated large parts of the Nordic pay TV market in 2020.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 43 most important statistics relating to "Pay TV in Europe".


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