TBI Tech & Analysis: How Switzerland is fighting back on sustained pay-TV losses

Yellowstone is among the Paramount+ shows that Swisscom made available on its Blue TV platform last year

Switzerland’s pay-TV market fell for a fourth consecutive quarter in 1Q24, with subscriptions down by 17,000 (-0.4%) to reach 3.8 million customers. Omdia’s Rob Moyser explores what is being done by the country’s key players to stem these losses.

The country’s top pay-TV operators, Swisscom and Sunrise, were the main drivers of this decline with the former losing 10,000 customers, while the latter lost 6,000 customers.

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Blue TV operator Swisscom’s subscriber decline was greater than in the previous quarter (with a loss of 3,000 customers previously).

CEO Christoph Aeschlimann attributed some of this decline to the company “focusing on quality and taking a more conservative approach than our competitors when it comes to promotions. He noted that the company had also “avoided passing on rising costs, such as the increase in VAT, to our customers.”

Sunrise, on the other hand, saw its loss of customers decrease from the previous quarter, in which it lost 17,000 customers.

In the last quarter of the year, Sunrise provided two new pay-TV offers that helped stem these subscriber declines, including the launch of Apple TV+ on its TV service with an integrated app and, in the run-up to Christmas, free access to a number of channels, including Premium Plus (with more than 40 TV channels, such as National Geographic, Romance TV, and Cartoon Network), available for viewing at no extra cost.

Liberty Global, the parent company of Sunrise, has continued to forge ahead with several initiatives to expand and drive revenue in Switzerland. In the first quarter, the company already made high investments totaling CHF 131.0 million, acquiring Cable operator CityCable Lausanne in March 2024, with more than 17,000 households and businesses transferred to Sunrise.

In February, it also announced it would spin off 100% of Swiss operating company Sunrise to shareholders. Chief executive Mike Fries said this action would put “value in their hands” but added it was too early to provide details on pricing.

The excerpt above is from the ‘TV & Video Industry Developments Impact Brief – May 2024’, written by Omdia’s Rob Moyser, senior analyst for Media & Entertainment. Omdia, like TBI, is part of Informa Tech. To read this brief in full, click here (subscription required).

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