Report: Pay-TV Industry Adding 95 Million Subs Globally Through 2023

It may be an over-the-top video world, but pay-TV isn’t going away worldwide anytime soon, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

Pay-TV is projected to add 95 million subscribers through 2023, reaching a global sub base of 1.1 billion. Based on forecasts for 138 countries, DTR said pay-TV subs surpassed 1 billion in 2017.

Of the incoming subs, the majority — 81 million — will be via telecom, with IPTV subs surpassing 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 subs,” principal analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Satellite TV will add 31 million subs and broadcast TV will add 10 million through 2023. Digital cable TV will add 61 million subs, but analog cable TV will lose 88 million subs — resulting in a net loss for cable.

There were 90 million analog cable TV subs at the end of 2017. Although this figure is down from 335 million in 2010, it still represents a major hurdle for pay TV operators to convert, according to DTR.

Meanwhile, there will be 525 million cable TV subs (analog and digital) globally by 2023, similar to the 528 million recorded in 2010.

“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 20 million from 112 million in the peak year of 2012,” Murray said.

Outside North America, the number of Latin America pay-TV subs remained flat in 2017. Fewer than 5 million additional pay-TV subs are expected through 2023 – bringing its total to almost 76 million.

Eastern Europe will lose 2.4 million subscribers between 2017 and 2023 – down by 2.9% to 79 million. This is more to do with poor economic conditions than cord- cutting, according to DTR. Eastern Europe has a legacy of low-paying analog cable TV subs converting to digital. 2017 was the peak year for the region with 20 million analog cable subs.

Western Europe will gain 3 million subs through 2023, representing a 2.6% increase, to total 106 million.

Sub-Saharan Africa will climb by 74% to 41 million subs. In the Middle East and North Africa, the number of pay TV homes will increase by 4.5 million to 21 million. Asia Pacific will add 78 million subs over the next five years to 686 million.

China will continue to supply about a third of the world’s pay-TV subs, with 375 million expected by 2023. India will bring in another 16% of the total – or 180 million. China and India will together provide half the world’s pay-TV subs by 2023.

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