Advanced Television

Triple-play subscriptions to quadruple

July 18, 2011

More than a quarter of the world’s TV households will subscribe to triple-play services of TV, broadband and telephony by 2016, according to Digital TV Research (DTVR). The Triple-Play Forecasts report, which covers 73 countries, estimates that this is up from only 7.1 per cent penetration at end-2010.

Report author Simon Murray said that the 2016 triple-play penetration didn’t sound too impressive until you realised that this represented 387 million homes, up from 96 million at end-2010.

According to DTVR, rapid expansion means that Asia Pacific’s triple-play subs will represent 58 per cent of the total by 2016, up from 35 per cent in 2010. Of the 291 million additional subscribers, 147 million will be in China alone, followed by an additional 24 million in the US, 18 million more in India and 13 million extra in Russia. China will supply 44 per cent of global triple-play subs by 2016.

Furthermore, suggests DTVR, there will be 80 million dual-play subscribers (TV and broadband) by 2016, up from 32 million at end-2010. Global dual-play penetration will reach 5.4 per cent by end-2016, up from 2.3 per cent at end-2010. China (30 million subs) will be the largest dual-play country in 2016, followed by the US (13 million) and India (12 million). These three countries will represent 69 per cent of global dual-play subs.

There will be twice as many triple-play cable subscribers (258 million) than DSL/fibre ones (129 million) by 2016 – a four times as many dual-play cable subs than dual-play DSL ones.

Murray said that rivalry for pay TV and broadband subscribers had never been so fierce – and was going to get even more competitive. “Operators are pushing their bundled packages hard to attract new subscribers and to retain existing ones. These operators are not just competing with each other, but they also have to deal with widespread take-up of digital terrestrial TV (with its channel choice often nearly replicating the basic pay offer) and over-the-top (OTT) Internet-delivered video. Furthermore, satellite TV providers are pushing newer services such as DVRs, HD and 3D to differentiate themselves from their fixed line counterparts,” he explained.

He suggested that the effect of all of this competition was reasonably-priced bundles, which increased overall [blended] ARPU for operators but lowered revenues from the component parts: TV, broadband and telephony. “So operators will (and have already started to) reduce TV channel choice (sometimes to just what is offered on DTT) and will be more reluctant to pay carriage fees for basic channels. This will impact channels revenue streams. Furthermore, operators are providing faster broadband speeds as standard.”

Triple-play penetration will be highest in North America, reaching 46 per cent by 2016, though growth will flatten from 2014. Triple-play penetration will exceed 50 per cent of TV households in nine countries by 2016, led by Belgium (67 per cent) and Hong Kong (60 per cent). Singapore (21 per cent) will be the dual-play leader.

Triple-play revenues will reach $170 billion by 2016, nearly $100 billion more than the 2010 total. The US will supply $39 billion of the additional revenues, with Japan up by $9 billion and China increasing by $8 billion. China’s 2016 total will be 10 times its 2010 total.

The US ($87 billion) will account for half of the world’s triple-play revenues by 2016, and the US ($13 billion) will also take half the global dual-play revenues by 2016. Global dual-play revenues will reach $26 billion in 2016, up by $10 billion on the 2010 total.

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