According to new market data from ABI Research, 11.3 million pay-TV subscribers were added at the end of first quarter of 2011. “By the end of 2011, the total number of pay-TV subscriptions is expected to exceed 759 million,” says practice director Jason Blackwell of ABI Research.
Cable TV still maintains the largest market share; however, its relative share of subscriptions dropped from 72 per cent in 2009 to 69 per cent in 2010. Cable TV operators in Western Europe and North America in particular faced subscriber losses in 2010 as new television services such as telco TV and online TV replaced traditional cable TV services.
However in emerging markets such as Latin America, cable TV will continue its growth. As an example Brazil, a country with more than 59 million households, has only about 17 per cent pay-TV penetration. Many parts of Brazil still have no access to cable TV services. In a plan recently released by the country’s telecoms regulator, cable TV penetration is expected to reach 10 per cent in 2011.
ABI Research notes that analogue switch-off is taking place across the world, with the momentum of the process especially high in Western Europe, with the UK and Italy expecting to complete analogue switch-off in 2012. Asia-Pacific countries such as China and India have taken the first steps to switch off analogue transmission, and the process is expected to be complete by 2015.
“The emergence of digital TV in different pay-TV platforms begins to offer more choices to consumers,” notes research analyst Khin Sandi Lynn. “Digital terrestrial TV (DTT) channels and high definition (HDTV) channels are gaining popularity in pay-TV markets. ABI Research expects that there will be more than 230 million high-definition TV subscriptions across different platforms at the end of 2011.”