NEW DELHI: India and China will together provide half the world’s pay TV subscribers by 2023, according to a new global report that forecasts 95 million additional pay TV subscribers would get added between 2017 and 2023 to take the global total to 1.10 billion.


China will continue to supply about a third of the world’s pay TV subscribers with 375 million expected by end 2023, while India will bring in another 16 per cent of the total by 2023 that translates into 180 million subs, a global report released by London-based Digital TV Research stated.


Based on forecasts for 138 countries, the number of pay TV subscribers passed 1 billion in 2017.


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 - a net loss for cable, an official statement from Digital TV Research stated on Tuesday.


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.


Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “It’s no secret that pay TV subscriber numbers are falling in North America. 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 five 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. Year 2017 was the peak year for the region. The 2017 total included 20 million analogue cable subscribers.


According to the report, Western Europe will still gain subscribers between 2017 and 2023. Although this only represents a 2.6 per cent increase, it means nearly three 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 are expected to increase by 4.5 million between 2017 and 2023 to 21 million.


The Asia Pacific pay TV sector is vibrant with subscribers likely to rise by 78 million over the next five years to 686 million.


Interestingly, the Global Pay TV Subscriber Forecasts report concluded that IPTV would win most of the additional subscribers, or 81 million. IPTV will overtake pay satellite TV subs in 2018. “Some operators, such as Telefonica in Spain, are encouraging subscribers to convert to IPTV from other platforms. IPTV/broadband subs are more lucrative than satellite TV ones,” Murray concluded.


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