Global Pay-TV to Add 35 Million Subs by 2025 — Driven by Online TV

Pay-TV consumption in the United States is declining, but globally, there’s still life in the distribution channel — thanks to online TV.

New data from London-based Digital TV Research suggests there will be 35 million new pay-TV subs through 2025, with the global base reaching 1.06 billion across more than 138 countries.

Driving growth is online TV, which includes platforms such as Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, AT&T TV Now and YouTube TV in the United States. IPTV will add 84 million subs through 2025, topping 391 million. Online TV will grow its global market share in pay-TV from 30% in 2019 to 37% in 2025.

Satellite TV, which is projected to lose another 4 million subs through 2025, will generate 20% of pay-TV subs, down from 21% in 2019.
Cable will decline 7%, accounting for 40% of all pay-TV subs by 2025 — a near 50% drop from 74% market share in 2010. There will be 430 million cable TV subs (both analog and digital) by 2025, 101 million fewer than in 2010.

“Our forecasts are based on the assumption that professional sports will restart in August following relaxations in the COVID-19 lockdown,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “If this does not happen, then pay-TV will experience considerable churn.”

Report: Disney+, Netflix Eyeing Combined 475M Subs by 2025

With entertainment distribution turned on its head by the coronavirus pandemic, new projections on global subscription video-on-demand predict the market will increase 81% (519 million subs) through 2025 to 1.16 billion subscribers. The SVOD market will add 170 million subs in 2020, according to Digital TV Research.

Disney+ is expected to add 176 million subs to reach 202 million. Netflix will add 91 million subs to 267 million. DTVR says five other global SVOD platforms will have 640 million combined SVOD subs by 2025 — spearheaded by China’s domestic players, which will account for 23% of the global total.

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“We have completely revised our forecasts for 138 countries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “A major impact of lockdown has been a steep rise in SVOD subscriptions.”

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Eastern Europe Ups Digital Pay-TV Service

When the Disney+ subscription streaming video service expanded into Europe last month, the launch excluded Eastern Europe. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video focus their efforts on countries such Germany, Italy, France, Spain, in addition to the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. And less so in Eastern European countries including Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the Ukraine and Russia.

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New data from Digital TV Research suggests Eastern Europe will add about 10 million digital pay-TV subscribers through 2025, bring its total consumer base to 77 million households — down from a peak of 83 million pay-TV households in 2018. The region still had 15.4 million analog cable subscribers by end-2019.

“The number of pay-TV subscribers in Eastern Europe will [increase] to 78 million in 2025,” principal analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “Migration married with low birth rates mean that populations will fall in 14 of the 22 countries that we cover between 2019 and 2025.”

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Report: Asia Pacific SVOD Subs to Reach 417 Million by 2025

Despite the negative impact from the coronavirus and the Chinese economic downturn, Asia Pacific will have 417 million streaming video-on-demand subscriptions by 2025, up from 269 million in 2019, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

The London-based company said China would have 269 million SVOD subs in 2025 — or 65% of the region’s total. India will supply a further 45 million — more than double its 2019 total.

Three Chinese companies will top the DTR’s Asia Pacific SVOD subscriber rankings in 2025 — with two recording 100 million subscribers. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which do not operate independently in China, will take fourth and fifth places respectively.

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“The top five platforms [Tencent Video, Iqiyi, Netflix, Disney+ and Youku Tudou] will account for two-thirds of the region’s SVOD revenue by 2025,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Netflix’s revenue will more than double between 2019 and 2025 to $3.19 billion. Disney+ will generate $1 billion in 2025. Asia Pacific SVOD total revenue will reach $18.25 billion in 2025; up by $8 billion on 2019.

“These forecasts are lower than our previous edition,” Murray said.

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Analyst: U.S. SVOD Subs to Reach 307 Million by 2025

With the recent and pending launch of several high-profile subscription streaming video platforms, subscriber growth in the United States is projected to skyrocket.

New data from Digital TV Research says the number of domestic SVOD subscriptions will climb from 199 million at the end of 2019 to 307 million by 2025.

The London-based firm is basing much of the projection on new arrivals Apple TV+, Disney+, pending services HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, in addition to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

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“The average SVOD household will pay for 3.28 SVOD platforms by 2025; up from 2.28 at end-2019. So, the average SVOD home will add one subscription between 2019 and 2025,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Murray said that more than a dozen platforms would have more than 5 million paying subs by 2025 — revealing just how far ahead in terms of choice the U.S. market is compared with the rest of the world.

Indeed, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT have more than 10 million combined subs with a projected 16 million by the end of the year. Disney last month announced that its SVOD platform has more than 26.5 million subs. AMC Networks’ Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel have a combined 2 million subs.

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“Growth for established players such as Netflix and Hulu will be muted due to intense competition from younger rivals such as Disney+, Peacock and the augmented All Access [with ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV],” Murray said.


Analyst: Pay-TV to Lose $50 Billion in Revenue by 2025 — Despite Accelerated Broadband Growth

With the pay-TV industry seeing greater numbers of subscribers exiting toward alternatives such as over-the-top video, new data from Digital TV Research suggests domestic operators will see revenue fall by $50 billion to $62 billion in 2025.

The report says pay-TV revenue in North America, which peaked in 2015 at $112 billion, will see declines across all distribution channels, including cable (down $22 billion, including $3 billion from analog and $19 billion from digital). Satellite distribution will fall by $21 billion and online TV (Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, Hulu with Live TV, etc.) will drop by $7 billion.

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“The loss of 42 million pay-TV subscribers between 2010 and 2025 is mostly responsible for this decline,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “Operators now put more emphasis on broadband connections than on traditional pay TV channels.”

Indeed, Comcast added 442,000 broadband subscribers in the most-recent quarter, AT&T added 191,000 subs, Charter Communications (Spectrum) added 339,000 subs, and Verizon added 35,000 Fios Internet customers.

“Subscribers are turning against high traditional pay-TV fees by seeking cheaper alternatives,” Murray said. “OTT allows viewers to see what they want when they want — they are not tied to the channels’ schedules. The value of the linear schedule for recorded programming is rapidly diminishing.”

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Research: Disney Streaming Service to Top 126 Million Subs by 2025

On the heels of Disney’s successful subscriber results for its flagship streaming service Disney+, Digital TV Research has revamped its projections for the SVOD platform.

The London-based firm projects Disney+ will be the “biggest SVOD winner” over the next five years, adding 105 million paying subs between the end of 2019 through 2025, topping 126 million.

Disney+ will reach 53% of Netflix’s subscriber total by 2025 — up from 27% in 2020. Five global SVOD platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+) will have 553 million paying subs by 2025, adding 196 million subscribers between 2020 and 2025.

Netflix will gain 51 million subs between 2020 and 2025, accounting for 44% of the five platforms’ subscribers, down from 53% in 2020.

“Much of this initial growth will come from the United States, principally due to the attractive bundling of Disney+ with ESPN+ and Hulu,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “ESPN+ and Hulu are not yet available outside the U.S., but we still expect strong Disney+ take-up globally.”

Digital TV Research expects HBO Max will have 30 million paying subs by 2025, with Apple TV+ having 26 million.

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Netflix Driving SVOD Growth in Middle East, North Africa

Netflix may be a mature business in the United States, but worldwide, the SVOD pioneer remains a driving force for subscription streaming video — especially in the Middle East and Africa.

New data from Digital TV Research estimates that by 2025, SVOD revenue in the Middle East and North Africa will reach $2.97 billion — up from $897 million in 2019. SVOD revenue will triple between 2019 and 2025. Turkey will total to $908 million by 2025, with Saudi Arabia adding $563 million and Israel $470 million.

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Netflix will generate 38% of the 2025 total (with its subscriber base doubling from 2019), followed by Lionsgate’s StarzPlay (23%) and Disney+ (11%, despite only starting in its first Arabic country in 2022). These three platforms will generate three-quarters of the Arab total by 2025.

Indeed, of Netflix’s 8.8 million net new subscribers in the fourth quarter 2019, more than half originated outside the U.S.

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“We forecast 29.63 million SVOD subscriptions by 2025, up from 12.25 million recorded at end-2019,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “Collectively, the 13 Arabic-speaking countries will overtake Turkey’s subscriber count in 2025.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Europe, the Middle East and Africa had 47.4 million Netflix subs as of Sept. 30, compared with 19.7 million March 31, 2017. Revenue during that same time period grew to $4 billion.

Netflix ended 2019 with 167 million subscribers worldwide.

Netflix Driving African SVOD Growth

The African continent may be grand in size but remains relatively small when it comes to subscription streaming video. That should change in South Africa and outlying regions thanks to Netflix and other services.

New data from Digital TV Research suggests African SVOD market will top $1 billion in revenue by 2025 — six times the $183 million in revenue generated in 2019. The continent is forecast to reach 9.72 million SVOD subscriptions by 2025, up from 2.68 million at end-2019. South Africa (3.24 million by 2025) will remain No. 1 followed by Nigeria (2.14 million).

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The top six platforms accounted for 86% of SVOD subscribers by end-2019, which should increase to 94% by 2025. Netflix will add 3.6 million subscribers to total 5 million by 2025. Disney+ is not expected to enter the African market until 2022, but will have 1.37 million paying subs by 2025.

“Online video in Sub-Saharan Africa has had a delayed and sluggish start compared to the rest of the world, and its impact continues to be minimal despite several service launches and expansions in recent years,” IHS Markit said in 2018 report, citing infrastructure, regulation and regional language barriers as challenges.

Regional service Showmax will have 1.41 million paying subs by 2025 — with many more receiving it for free as part of their premium satellite TV subscription, according to DTVR. Multichoice has a distribution deal with HBO, which is likely to offset an HBO Max launch.

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“Over the last year, there has been a shift from cheap, local platforms towards the multinational players,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “This means higher revenues as their prices are higher than local players, but it also keeps subscriber numbers low.”

Report: India, China to Buttress Global Pay-TV Market as U.S. Declines

Pay-TV home entertainment may be in decline in the United States and Europe, but surges in India and China will help the medium top more than 1 billion subscribers through 2024, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

The London-based company said India and China — the world’s most populous countries — will add 26 million and 19 million pay-TV subs, respectively.

The U.S., formerly the No. 1 pay-TV market, will lose 14.4 million subs during the period — a decline of more than 16%.

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Indeed, China and India will account for more than 50% of global pay-TV subs with 356 million and 184 million, respectively.

“We have updated our forecasts based on June 2019 reports,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement. “The U.S. is the world’s worst performer — with no uplift expected over the next five years. Other countries will experience a slowdown — or even some small declines in subscriber numbers — but no other country will match the gloomy projections for the U.S.”

The lone silver lining is online TV. Spurred by standalone services such as Sling TV, AT&T TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with TV and YouTube TV, online TV will add more than 100 million subs through 2024, reaching a global sub count of 357 million and 20% market share — up from 15% in 2018.