Russian pay TV services added more than 4 million subscribers last year, growing 19% to 30.5 million customers in an industry now worth an annual $1.6 billion.

Figures released in Moscow by analysts Telecom Daily detailed the subscriber totals for Russia’s big three providers: Tricolor TV (8.8 million), Rostelecom (6.6 million) and MTS (2.9 million).

The total number of subscribers in 2012 was 30.5 million compared with 26 million the year before.

The figures from the research by Moscow’s iKS Consulting show worldwide pay TV growth averaged 6% last year.

Russia’s growth was fuelled by new subscriber take up for satellite and IPTV with regional expansion in Siberia and other eastern regions of Russia a major factor.

Russia’s top telecom providers, Beeline, MTS and Rostelecom, are all active in the sector.

Another telco, Megafon, has announced plans for developing television services, too. It appointed Ivan Tavrin as CEO last April. He has a background in developing regional television and advertising networks.

With pay TV penetration estimated at 55% of the Russian market, there is still plenty of room to grow.

Cable TV remains the first choice for most Russians paying for television services, with 56% of the market (down 4% on 2011); satellite has a 35% market share and IPTV 9%.

Growth areas are TV on demand services, which are forecast to be worth $6 billion a year in Russia by 2017 — when the country will be the 10th biggest market worldwide for pay TV — and IPTV, which will be worth around $817 million by that year, Telecom Daily said, citing analysis by Digital TV Research.

By 2017, Russia should be the world’s eighth biggest online advertising market, taking around a 4% share of a global market, forecast to be worth $143 billion.