Chris Dziadul Reports: Pay-TV in Romania

The Romanian pay-TV market has undergone several interesting changes over the past two years.

The latest statistical report published by the regulator ANCOM shows that the number of active operators increased from 147 in the second quarter of 2019 to 101 in the same quarter this year. The largest decline was seen in the cable sector, with the number of service providers falling from 144 to 97. DTH providers, meanwhile, remained unchanged at five throughout the period, while those using IPTV went from three to four.

At the same time, the total number of pay-TV subscribers, in an already saturated market, has fallen from 7.63 million to 7.79 million in two years. The only surprise may have been a 0.1% reduction in the first half of 2021, although that could turn out to be an anomaly.

Cable is still king in Romania and the number of connections continues to grow. During the period under review, it increased from 5.36 million to 6.03 million. At the same time, the number of DTH subscribers has grown from 2.13 million to 1.63 million, and IPTV – surprisingly, given its growing popularity elsewhere – from 130,000 to 120,000.

Significantly, RCS & RDS (Digi) strengthened its hold over the entire pay TV market during the review period. Its share of subscribers fell from just over half (51.2%) in the second quarter of 2019 to almost two-thirds (63.3%) in the second quarter of this year. Telekom, second, saw its fall from 18% to 13.7% and Vodafone in third place from 11.9% to 11.3%.

Digi’s dominance was even more apparent in the cable sector, where its share rose from 63.2% to 74.4%, while those of Vodafone (16.9% to 14.6%) and Telekom ( 8.3% to 6.6%) fell. It also increased its share in DTH from 24.3% to 27%, while market leader Telekom saw its share drop from 37.4% to 33.4%.

Other key statistics from the study indicated that alongside the increase in the number of cable subscribers, the percentage of digital service usage rose from 49% to 48% over the two-year period. and that cable represented 62% of digital subscriptions, with DTH and IPTV representing 35%. and 3% respectively.

Additionally, by polling subscribers, the study found that satisfaction with their cable, DTH, or IPTV service increased from 61% in 2019 to 49% this year.

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