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Chris Dziadul Analysis: Focus on Romania

December 20, 2023

When it comes to pay-TV services, cable is definitely king in Romania. At the same time, satellite (DTH) is in steep decline and IPTV – surprisingly, given its growing popularity across most of Central and Eastern Europe – barely figures.
The latest data published by the regulator ANCOM shows that as of the end of June there were a total of 7.8 million pay-TV subscribers in the country. While this was little changed on a year or even two years earlier, there were stark differences in the popularity of technologies used to receive services. Cable, for instance, was favoured by 6.7 million, up from 6.4 million in Q2 2022 and 6.3 million in Q2 2021. DTH, on the other hand, plunged from 1.63 million to 1.08 million over the same two-year period and IPTV accounted for only 80,000 subscribers compared to 120,000 in Q2 2021.
The growing popularity of cable is also reflected in pay-TV penetration per 100 households, which stood at 104.4% as of the end of June. Cable claimed 89.7%, DTH 13.6% and IPTV 1.1%.
Those familiar with Romania’s pay-TV industry will know that cable has long been more popular in urban and DTH in rural parts of the country. The latest figures confirm this still remains the case, with 58% of cable subscribers being found in urban areas and the remainder in rural ones as of Q2 this year. Meanwhile, two thirds (66%) of rural pay-TV subscribers opted for DTH and IPTV was overwhelming (72%) an urban phenomenon.
Despite the highly competitive nature of the market, Digi Communications’ RCS&RDS remains in first place. As of June 30 it accounted for no fewer than 71.4% of pay-TV subscribers, with the number having risen from 63.3% two years earlier. It was followed by Orange, whose combined operations accounted for 14.7%, Vodafone with 10.4% and other operators 3.5%.
If we look specifically at the cable sector, RCS&RDS accounted for 78.1% of subscribers, up from 74.5% two years earlier. It was followed by Vodafone (12.1%), Orange (8.9%) and others (0.9%). Only in DTH was RCS&RDS overtaken, with Orange’s combined operations (46.1%) pushing it into second place (33.5%) despite being still ahead of Canal Plus’s Focus Sat (20.3%) and Freesat (0.1%).  
It may also come as a surprise that analogue cable is still very much alive in Romania, with almost half (47%) of cable subscribers still using the technology as of June 30. This was barely changed on the 48% figure two years earlier.

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© Chris Dziadul, 2023
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