Moving East: Pay TV in Central and Eastern Europe

According to Central and Eastern Europe Pay TV Market Monitor by IHS Inc, the number of pay TV subs has faced the 31%growth between 2010 and 2015. There were over 75.9 million homes connected to pay TV services and the marked has reached €5.02 billion. Such a boost has mostly fallen on the shoulders of Russian and Polish viewers. Let’s have a closer look:

Pay TV Geography

Poland – the Highest Revenues

Despite being quite small, Poland has the highest pay TV revenues among the countries of the region. The benefits reached €1.69 billion in 2015 and they keep growing. The only thing that can affect this growth is Netflix launch in early January 2016.

However, most of reports say that it won’t have a significant impact on cable, DTH and IPTV base due to high prices and lack of polish content.

Romania – the Highest Penetration

It was 93 percent at the end of 2015, which is an incredible number for the region and even beyond. It is higher than in Norway, Finland, Sweden, France, the UK, Germany and Spain. Most of Romanian pay TV fans are located in urban areas and prefer cable TV.

Russia – the Biggest Alterations

Though pay TV revenues have increased by 20 percent in 2015 if measured in rubles, they’ve decreased by9.25 percent in euros. The main reason for this was the ruble depreciation by 33 percent against the euro in 2015. Also many foreign media companies have left the Russian market and now 80% of Discovery, Turner and Viasat channels belong to National Media Group.

What standard does Eastern and Central Europe choose?

Now cable TV is a clear leader which owns 48 percent of pay TV subs.Satellite has 38 percent and 13 percent are left for IPTV. Cable will stay on the top till 2020 even being under satellite/IPTV pressure.


The Pay TV penetration will also grow significantly mostly due to new IPTV subs. The IPTV will have the highest growing rate among these three standards, but not as high as in Western Europe where the number of IPTV subscribers has already overtaken the number of satellite TV fans.

What is the Most Perspective Niche?

According to the information above, IPTV may become the most reasonable investment, as the cable TV popularity will fall and satellite industry already has a high competition level. IPTV is quite a new format for this region. Due to this there are a few pros and cons:

Growth drivers:

  • Small competition
  • Growing interest
  • No need for too much equipment
  • Minor investments
  • A lot of local content which is in high demand



  • Lack of experience
  • The Set-Top boxes market is still developing: though there are some reliable set top box suppliers, there are still a lot of fakes on the market which attract by low price but may be poor at work.

By paying attentions to these drivers and restraints, it’s possible to launch a profitable IPTV/OTT project within the shortest terms. The lack of experience may be compensated by foreign case studies or by cooperating with companies which provide complex solutions.