53,000+ TV channels by 2026

Northern Sky Research (NSR) says the planet’s linear TV channel count is likely to rise by some 12,000 new services, despite the proliferation of OTT access.

NSR says that by 2026 the world’s broadcasters will be offering a total of some 53,600 channels, and that despite the attractions of HD and the latest Ultra-HD transmissions, most (“two-thirds”) of the growth will be in Standard Definition.

“However, satellite operators will also benefit from channel growth occurring on the higher bandwidth HD format, indicating that DTH, Cable and IPTV markets are finally reaching an inflection point in terms of their product offerings,” says NSR. “Partially due to platforms focus on becoming more ‘premium’ in nature to compete against OTT platforms. Along with a hesitation for platforms to drop channel offerings in significant numbers, due to fear of triggering a ‘cord-cutting’ subscriber revenue loss.”

“Increasing levels of compression – and especially HEVC implantation on video distribution to Cable and IPTV head-ends – will have a much greater negative impact on satellite capacity demand growth longer term than any increases to number of channels carried over satellite,” states Alan Crisp, NSR Analyst and report lead author. “Pay TV platforms are looking to decrease costs so subscribers will not feel impacted. Reducing capacity costs through compression is one of the core ways that this can be achieved. Consequently, video leasing revenues in some regions will peak in the medium term, as compression and modest pricing declines begin to take effect.”

“Higher levels of revenue and satellite capacity demand growth traditionally seen in the video market in past decades are nearly over, with growth becoming less dynamic than in the past. Nonetheless, certainly “the sky is not falling”, as DTH and video distribution are expected to remain the ‘bread and butter’ for many FSS operators globally in the long term, contributing well over $6 billion in annual revenues over the next decade.”

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