Global digital steams on

Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 22-01-2012

As analogue signals are switched off across the world, digital penetration may seem like yesterday's thing but that would be a developed world received wisdom diminishing impressive roll out for digital on a global basis.

Indeed, new research from Informa Telecoms & Media states that global TV households are converting to digital at what it calls "an impressive pace", despite the gloomy economic scenarios playing out in many territories.
Informa calculates that the total number of digital TV homes was just over 620 million at the end of 2011 but that this figure will rocket to over 1 billion in five years' time. This represents a penetration rise from just under half (47%) to more or less three quarters (74%) over the time period.
On a regional basis, the traditional three-way split between Asia Pacific, Western Europe and North America is predicted to diverge wildly by the end of 2012 with the former grabbing 48% of the world’s digital homes, over 309 million in total,twice as much as North
America (152 million) and Western Europe with 125 million.
The BRIC economies will, says Informa, add more than 450 million digital homes by the end of 2016, driven by the emerging countries, principally, China which is set to contribute 146 million additions in the next five years, followed by India bringing in an extra 64 million, Russia 29 million more, and Brazil a further 25 million. By way of sharp contrast, the US will be the second largest market by end-2016, after adding a seemingly paltry 17 million digital TV households.
That said, in terms of penetration, the US in 2011 to became the leading country by number of digital TV homes, reaching 132 million or 21% of the world’s total, achieving 100% digital household penetration in 2014. That said, Informa expects that by 2016 China will have increased this figure to 278 million, just over a quarter of the world’s total digital TV households.
Despite the rapid digital growth, Informa predicts that by 2016, 27% of the world’s TV households will still receive analogue signals. Of those home that will receive digital signals, 1.07 billion households, the analyst says that 327 million will receive free digital satellite or DTT signals, leaving 743 million pay digital homes.