BRICs provide foundation for pushing pay-TV past $60BN in Q3 2013

Joseph O'Halloran | 14-11-2013

Growth in emerging markets pushed the worldwide pay-TV market passed the 886.5 million subscriber mark in the third quarter of 2013 according to data from ABI Research.

This represented a 6% year-on-year increase, generating US$62.6 billion in service revenue in the third quarter. If this growth stays on the track, it projects, says ABI in its “Pay TV ARPU and Revenues” report, that the global pay-TV subscriber base will eclipse one billion by 2018, generating service revenue of $229.6 billion.

BRIC countries will account for just over two-thirds (68%) of total net additional subscribers by this time. “Emerging markets are key drivers of global growth in pay-TV subscribers as developed markets are experiencing flat growth rates,” commented Jake Saunders, VP and practice director.

By contrast, pay-TV is set to continue to disappoint in the more established territories. In Western Europe TV during Q3 2013, the pay-TV subscriber base grew less than 2% with subscribers in Spain and Italy maintain their recent decline. Pay-TV service providers in Spain and Italy lost over 7% and 2%, respectively, of their total subscriber base compared to a year ago.

However, markets such as France, Germany and the UK contributed to regional market growth. Net additions in IPTV subscribers are the prime driver of pay-TV regional growth in the region and ABI Research estimates the IPTV subscriber base in Western Europe increased 1.9 million in Q3 2013 from Q3 2012.

In North America, pay-TV subscribers slipped slightly by just under 1% from Q3 2012, mainly due to contracting subscriber counts in the cable TV sector. ABI says cable TV operators in North America lost around 1.7 million subscribers in the last year. Yet in terms of pay-TV service revenue, North America grew nearly 3% from Q3 2012. “Despite the declining subscriber base, pay-TV service revenue in North America grew due to increased average revenue per user which is driven by an increasing proportion of HDTV and advanced DVR subscribers,” noted Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst.