Movistar helped Spanish pay-TV subscribers hit 6.7m in Q1
The number of pay-television subscribers in Spain had reached 6.72 million by the end of the first quarter of 2018, according to newly-released figures from the CNMC, the country’s competition regulator.
This represented an increase of 10 per cent on the 6.09 million at the same point last year.
IPTV customers (xDSL and FTTH) account for a clear majority of the subscribers, totalling 4.15 million, up 670,000, or 19 per cent, from 3.48 million at the close of the first quarter in 2017.
Meanwhile, cable TV subscribers fell from 1.51 million to 1.42 million and satellite TV subscribers slipped again, from 860,000 to 760,000.
However, web TV continued to rise, hitting 390,000 subscribers by the end of the first quarter of this year, compared with just 240,000 a year earlier.
Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica’s Movistar Plus remains the most popular pay-TV service, with 3.93 million customers, up 2.2 per cent, and that was before the platform landed the residential live rights to the Uefa Champions League and Europa League for this season onwards in a three-year, €1.08-billion ($1.24-billion) deal with Spanish sports rights agency Mediapro.
Movistar has also snapped up the lion’s share of live rights to Spain’s top-tier La Liga (nine of the 10 games per round) in residential properties for 2019-20 to 2021-22 for €2.94 billion.
Behind Movistar, the leading pay-TV platforms at the end of the first quarter were Vodafone, down 0.6 per cent to 1.39 million subscribers, Orange, up 2.2 per cent to 619,000, and Euskaltel, up 1.8 per cent to 403,000.
Broadcasters and telecoms operators will be waiting to see what the impact has been of the decision taken this summer by Vodafone, on financial grounds, not to agree a carriage deal with Movistar for the Liga de Campeones channel featuring the European clubs competitions, or the El Partizado channel including the top LaLiga match each week.
Conversely, Orange opted to continue offering the soccer packages to its subscribers.
Spanish pay-TV revenues fell by 1.3 per cent to €556.6 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared with the final quarter of 2017.
Movistar Plus remained the dominant player, on €426.6 million, down 1.2 per cent, well ahead of Vodafone, on €62.4 million, down 5.3 per cent, and Orange, on €31.5 million, up 2.9 per cent.