Research: Global pay-TV revenues $155bn in 2010

Some 338 million digital homes were added around the world between 2006 and 2010, according to a new report from Digital TV Research (DTVR). The Digital TV World Databook estimates that this took the digital TV household total for the 73 countries covered to 576 million. Digital penetration climbed from 18.9 per cent at end-2006 to 42.5 per cent by end-2010.

Report author Simon Murray observed that there were still 780 million analogue TV households (both terrestrial and cable, with a few analogue DTH ones) by end-2010. However, this was down from 1.023 billion at end-2006.

Split by platform, there were still 486 million analogue terrestrial homes, 290 million analogue cable ones and 3 million analogue DTH at end-2010. However, digital cable was in 203 million homes, followed by 139 million pay digital DTH and 97 million free-to-air digital DTH. Pay IPTV brought in another 35 million households. Meanwhile, FTA (free-to-air) DTT homes reached 94 million, with pay DTT generating a further 9 million.

Murray pointed out that of the digital homes added between 2006 and 2010, 70 million came from primary DTT [homes taking DTT but not subscribing to cable, DTH or IPTV]. Digital cable contributed a further 145 million, pay DTH 59 million, with pay IPTV providing an additional 31 million.

He added that the universe was not static, as 95 million TV households were added between 2006 and 2010 to bring the total to 1.355 billion. Of the additions, 64 million came from the Asia Pacific region.

Analogue terrestrial was still the most popular platform at end-2010, accounting for 35.9 per cent of the world’s TV households, with analogue cable second at 21.4 per cent. Digital cable was the most popular digital platform, securing 14.9 per cent of TV households. Pay digital DTH was next at 10.3 per cent, followed by FTA (free-to-air) digital DTH with 7.2 per cent. About 6.9 per cent of homes were primary FTA DTT, with 0.6 per cent pay DTT. Pay IPTV penetration reached 2.6 per cent at end-2010, up from only 0.3 per cent at end-2006.

Of the 338 million digital TV households added between 2006 and 2010, 169 million were in the Asia Pacific region, bringing its total to 218 million. China became the largest digital TV household nation in 2010. Only Finland was completely digital by end-2010.

Pay-TV penetration (analogue and digital combined) reached half of the world’s TV households by end-2010, up from 40 per cent at end-2006. Penetration at end-2010 varied from 90 per cent in North America to 14 per cent in the Middle East and Africa. Pay-TV penetration was highest in the Netherlands, at 99 per cent by end-2010. However, China had the most pay-TV subs, at 195 million by end-2010. The USA and India also had more than 100 million pay-TV subs.

Pay-TV revenues reached $155 billion in 2010, up from $124 billion in 2006. Cable (analogue and digital combined) generated the highest revenues by platform, with $76 billion in 2010. However, cable revenues are flattening, according to DTVR, and DTH will overtake it in 2011. IPTV revenues reached $6 billion in 2010, up from less than $1 billion in 2006. North America is the largest provider of pay-TV revenues, but its total dropped in 2010 as competition and bundling had an impact.

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