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The Ongoing Evolution of Pay-TV Service in Europe

European pay-TV added 10 million new subscriber homes last year and will reach 152 million by 2017, according to the latest market study by Rethink Research.

Telecom service providers took IPTV from 20 million to 25 million in the past year and will reach 43.3 million customers across Europe -- doubling in just 6 years.

The largest pay-TV players in Europe will still be News Corp with Sky, Liberty Global in cable and Vivendi with DTH and IPTV plays. Right behind them will be Deutsche Telekom,France Telecom and Iliad's Free.

These providers will grow both within IPTV and through the addition of DTH services to run alongside them.

European telcos are growing there TV subscribers faster than any other segment of European pay-TV and are set to become serious contenders -- holding their own in broadband and the quad play against cable companies.

There's many studies that highlight the higher broadband speeds of cable companies, but there's now new evidence that telcos are embracing VDSL to help reduce the gap in Europe.

Rethink says that France remains the toughest place for pay-TV competition in Europe and has the most individual contracts and market penetration -- with Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium close behind.

Looking ahead, the pay-TV industry will evolve from a position where cable is dominant to where DTH satellite delivered pay-TV will overtake cable as Europe's favorite TV technology.

Meanwhile, cable will continue to focus on triple play service offerings and broadband wins. At the same time IPTV will grow to become 25 percent of the total pay-TV market, while pay DTT appears to be either flat or in a decline.

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