Online TV Subs Projected to Surpass Cable in 2026

Online TV market penetration in the U.S. may have stagnated, with Disney-owned Hulu + Live TV leading the domestic market with more than 4 million subscribers.

Globally, however, online TV (IPTV) subscribers are projected to exceed cable TV in 2026, according to new data from Digital TV Research. IPTV is projected to add 63 million subs between 2021 and 2026 to total 398 million.

“The main reason for this is China where the huge shift from cable TV to IPTV continues,” principal analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

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China is projected to have 226 million IPTV subs by 2026, leaving about 172 million for the rest of the world. China will add 19 million IPTV subs between 2021 and 2026. However, China is projected to lose 39 million cable TV subs during the same period to end 2026 with 89 million.

Digital TV Research forecasts 13 million more pay-TV subs between 2021 and 2026, to take the global total past 1 billion. China will continue to account for nearly one-third of the world’s pay-TV subs, with 315 million expected by the end of 2026. India will bring in another 178 million. China and India will together provide half the world’s pay-TV subs by 2026.

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