Second screens vulnerable to OTT takeover in Europe

Almost half of second screens in Europe will access content via OTT in Europe by 2017, but traditional broadcast networks will hold on much better for the primary screen.

There will be a slight swing away from cable to satellite and IPTV on the first screen, with OTT growing fast but from a very low base so that it still accounts for only 2.6 percent of primary TV sets in Europe by 2017. These predictions come from London-based media and technology research group Analysys Mason, which forecasts overall pay TV customer growth in Europe of 10.2 percent between 2012 and 2017 to reach 186 million, despite continuing economic weakness in many of the continent’s countries.

The number of households taking traditional pay TV services, that is satellite, cable, IPTV, or pay DTT, is expected to increase by 7.3 percent, with paid for OTT services accounting for most of the remaining growth to reach 4.9 million customers by 2017, compared with just 80,000 in 2012. For traditional pay TV providers, therefore, the main threat from OTT will be on the second screen for the foreseeable future, so that is where they must come up with counter measures to retain eyeballs there. Analysys Mason argued that pay-TV operators should not be too greedy in trying to gain extra revenues from second screens, and instead concentrate on ensuring that they have a compelling proposition extending beyond the primary TV set to include companion screen applications.

A separate study by New York based ABI Research suggested that OTT posed a major threat globally. This study predicted that worldwide OTT revenue would quadruple to $32 billion by 2017, up from $8.2 billion in 2012. However, ABI Research indicated that traditional operators would continue to thrive even on second screens by offering OTT content.