Britain is set to become the biggest pay-TV market in Europe with revenues rocketing from£2.9bn to£14bn in just five years, a new report predicts, writes Mchael Rosser

Britain is set to become the biggest pay-TV market in Europe with revenues rocketing from£2.9bn to£14bn in just five years, a new report predicts, writes Mchael Rosser

The five-fold increase will be partly attributed to household subscriptions but a more significant impact will come from an 850% increase in T-commerce (commerce via the TV) levels across Europe, from a current low of£2.4bn to more than£30bn by 2008.

The European Pay-TV Forecasts report, released today by International Marketing Reports, also revealed that UK pay-TV penetration would reach 58% of TV households from the current 38%, which is only eclipsed by Scandinavian companies Finland (63.6%), Denmark (74.1%) and Sweden (79.8%).

Household subscriptions across the continent are expected to rise from 40 million to 68 million and Germany also looks set to make rapid progress in pay-TV with its current 6.3% of TV households with subscription services set to grow to 36.2% in the next five years.

The report also analyses who will be the winners and losers in the pay-TV market with the news for smaller, struggling channels looking bleak.

'The big winners will be the large, established channels,' said report author David Brown.

'They have both the economies for scale and strong branding to dominate. But even they must be careful. MTV, for example, now faces a tough challenge from publisher Emap, which has launched several rival music channels.' Emap is the publisher of Broadacst.

Free-to-air TV will also continue to lose share to pay-TV, according to the report, with the strongest growth in broadband and video-on-demand services as well as the holders of sports and film rights.

'Sport and movies are still the so-called ?killer content',' added Brown. 'They are quite simply the only content the majority of subscribers will pay for and therefore they are the lifeblood of many of the big subscription operations.'