Ninety-five million additional pay-TV subscribers are set to be added between 2017 and 2023 to take the global total to 1.1 billion, according to Digital TV Research. Based on forecasts for 138 countries, the number of pay-TV subscribers passed 1 billion in 2017.
The Global Pay TV Subscriber Forecasts report concludes that IPTV will win most of the additional subscribers – or 81 million. IPTV will overtake pay satellite TV subs in 2018.
“Some operators, such as Telefónica in Spain, are encouraging subscribers to convert to IPTV from other platforms,” advised Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research. “IPTV/broadband subs are more lucrative than satellite TV ones.”
Satellite TV will grow by 31 million subs and pay DTT by 10 million. Digital cable TV will add at 61 million subs between 2017 and 2023, but analogue cable TV will lose 88 million subs – meaning a net loss for cable.
There were still 90 million analogue cable TV subscribers by end-2017. Although this figure is down from 335 million in 2010, it still represents a major hurdle for pay-TV operators to convert.
It is not all gloom as there will be 525 million cable TV subs (both analogue and digital) by 2023, similar to the 528 million recorded in 2010.
“It’s no secret that pay-TV subscriber numbers are falling in North America,” noted Murray. “We forecast 92 million pay-TV subs in the region by 2023; down by 20 million from 112 million in the peak year of 2012.”
The number of pay-TV subscribers was flat in Latin America in 2017. Fewer than 5 million more pay-TV subscribers are expected between 2017 and 2023 – bringing its total to almost 76 million.
Eastern Europe will lose 2.4 million subscribers between 2017 and 2023 – down by 2.9 per cent to 79 million. This is more to do with poor economic conditions than cord-cutting. Eastern Europe also has a legacy of low-paying analogue cable TV subscribers to convert to digital. 2017 was the peak year for the region. The 2017 total included 20 million analogue cable subscribers.
Western Europe will still gain subscribers between 2017 and 2023. Although this only represents a 2.6 per cent increase, it means nearly 3 million more subs to take the total to 106 million.
Sub-Saharan Africa will climb by 74 per cent between 2017 and 2023 to 41 million pay-TV subscribers. In the Middle East and North Africa, the number of pay-TV homes will increase by 4.5 million between 2017 and 2023 to 21 million.
The Asia Pacific pay-TV sector is vibrant, with subscribers up by 78 million over the next five years to 686 million.
China will continue to supply about a third of the world’s pay-TV subscribers, with 375 million expected by end-2023. India will bring in another 16 per cent of the total by 2023 – or 180 million. China and India will together provide half the world’s pay-TV subscribers by 2023.