Number of UK pay TV subscribers grows to 17.4 million

New research by Strategy Analytics shows that there are now 17.4 million pay TV subscribers in the UK, with both Sky and Virgin Media accounting for a colossal 81% of market share.

The data suggests that subscription TV services remain a popular service for viewers despite the growing popularity of on-demand services and catch-up services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

While Sky and Virgin Media continue to lead the way, BT TV now has 6% of subscriptions and the report states that the launch of its upcoming Ultra HD service later this year could increase its share to double figures by 2017.

BT Sport will broadcast its first football game in Ultra HD in August, when Chelsea and Arsenal meet in The Community Shield. The arrival of BT Sport Europe, and its commitment to show every Champions League and Europa League match, is also likely to boost viewing figures.

Strategy Analytics Director for Connected Home Devices, David Watkins said: "Being first to market with a UHD sports channel may just tempt a few more customers from BT's rivals to jump ship."

"BT will be hopeful of stealing a march on Sky and Virgin. It's already become a serious threat to Sky's dominance by spending vast amounts to secure premium sports broadcast rights."

Sales of Ultra HD TVs with Smart features are expected to grow by 225% this year and are estimated to be in 850,000 homes by 2016 and 40% of all households by the end of the decade.

Source: Advanced Television

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