NSR’s UltraHD via Satellite, 3rd Edition report identifies 2016 as a key inflection point for the rollout of UltraHD via satellite. NSR forecasts over 785 UltraHD channels by 2025, and satellite capacity required to carry bandwidth intensive UltraHD channels will drive an added $280 million in annual leasing revenues.
While commercial UltraHD channels in East Asia have been available for over a year, the new format expands its geographic reach on linear TV platforms. By next year, almost all regions worldwide will have UltraHD channels available, and even developing regions see content by the end of the decade. Furthermore, the plunging price of 4K TV sets accelerates interest and demand in the new format, setting 4K TV penetration rates to rise faster than the initial introduction of HD TVs.
“Given the exponential increases we’ve seen on 4K TV shipments, introducing UltraHD channels and packages is a key strategy to retain and grow pay TV subscriber bases in an increasingly competitive environment. Additionally, this is a vital competitive response to OTT platforms’ ever expanding online content catalogues,” explained Alan Crisp, NSR Analyst and report author. “While in the short term DTH, Cable TV and IPTV platforms will offer UltraHD for ‘free’ with existing premium channel bundles, longer term UltraHD will achieve higher revenue streams generated by increasing ARPUs and subscriber levels.”
Although UltraHD remains a small component of the video market, with around 1% of overall channel counts, the impact to the bottom line of pay TV platforms and satellite operators alike is disproportionately large, through both direct and indirect returns. Short term ROI challenges remain for broadcasters. However, longer term, UltraHD is expected to pay dividends to pay TV providers and will form a critical component of most platforms by 2025. Those without it will be viewed the same way SD-only platforms are viewed in the market today.