Telefónica Sees OTT Growth Offset Pay TV Decline


By Stuart Thomson

Telefónica’s TV base continued to grow in the third quarter thanked to the continued success of its OTT offerings, with its traditional cable and IPTV subscriber numbers declining.

Overall, the international telco had 8.14 million pay TV customers at the end of the quarter, down 5.4 per cent year-on-year, with a decline from 8.243 million in the second quarter.

However, the group’s overall video base stood at 9.6 million, comprising the pay TV base plus 1.4 million active OTT subscribers. The latter saw an increase of 24 per cent year-on-year.

In its home market of Spain, Telefónica saw its pay TV base decline by 2.1 per cent to just over four million. However, the company said this was due to lower-value customers leaving, combined with a net loss in subscribers to its Movistar+ Lite offering, which saw numbers jump during the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdown.

In Brazil, Telefónica saw pay TV numbers slide by 9 per cent to 1.258 million, with a rise in IPTV numbers failing to offset a decline in satellite customers.

The same applied in Spanish-speaking Latin America, where an 8.1 per cent year-on-year decline left the operator with 2.854 million pay TV customers, including 501,000 IPTV subs, up 80.5 per cent year-on-year. The company said that its IPTV base had grown strongly on the back of fibre fixed access penetration.

Separately, Telefónica has forged an alliance with investment outfit Allianz Capital Partners to create a 50:50 JV to roll out fibre in Germany.

Telefónica’s infrastructure unit, Telefónica Infra, will hold a 40 per cent stake in the new outfit, while Telefónica O2 Deutschland will hold 10 per cent. Allianz will hold the remaining 50 per cent.

The venture will roll out fibre in underserved areas of the country on a neutral open-access basis. The company aims to invest around €5 billion(US$5.84billion) in passing over two million homes in rural and semi-rural areas.

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