Pay-TV to reach 1 in 5 German households this year

FRANKFURT, July 15 (Reuters) - Pay-TV is set to reach one in five German households for the first time this year, the VPRT association of German private broadcasters forecast on Wednesday.

The German television market is dominated by a large variety of public and advertising-funded channels that are free to view, meaning pay-TV penetration by companies such as Sky Deutschland is far below the global average of 48 percent.

Pay-TV channels from providers including Disney, Time Warner or Fox are mainly offered by cable companies in Europe’s largest economy and face increasing competition from on-demand services like Netflix.

Pay-TV revenue in Germany rose 8 percent to 2.22 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in 2014, with Internet-based on-demand services accounting for 135 million, VPRT said. It forecast total pay-TV revenues to rise by around 7 percent this year.

That compares with a 4 percent increase in German TV advertising revenues in 2014 to 4.29 billion euros, with the vast majority going to private free-to-air broadcasters like ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL.

Germany has 90 pay-TV channels, offering entertainment, sport, documentaries, music and children’s programmes. ($1 = 0.9131 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Susan Fenton)