Predictions are always difficult to get right, but an article in the Broadcast Engineering magazine, suggests that by 2021 TV channels in the UK may find that internet delivery utilising Content Delivery Networks (such as Akamai) will be cheaper than renting transponder space on a satellite.
The projection is based around a satellite transponder costing £3 million a year, and a CDN costing 4.4 cents per GB, and with audiences of under 1 million the CDN approach wins currently. As pricing continues to shift towards OTT delivery then even larger audience numbers will be viable. The projections suggest that for BSkyB who is the largest satellite broadcaster in Europe that tipping point will be 2021.
IPTV has been more popular across Europe due to the lower penetration of satellite and cable TV, but OTT (Over The Top) services such as Netflix, Hulu etc which are not tied to a physical operator is threatening even IPTV solutions, due to its flexibility and ability to play on a myriad of connected devices.
The NOW TV service from Sky is perhaps an early sign from the broadcaster that it views the internet as a channel for growth. Also reducing the number of channels on satellite services, might also allow for higher quality transmissions, the compression and bit-rate used on current SD and HD transmissions have plenty of room for improvement.