728 million pay-TV subs worldwide

November 21, 2013 10.09 Europe/London By Julian Clover

The number of pay-TV subscriptions held around the world increased by 32% between 2008 and 2012, according to data released by the ITU to mark World Television Day.

The information, from the organisation’s annual report Measuring the Information Society 2013, shows 55% of the world’s TV to be digital, the halfway mark was passed in 2012. In 2008 the figure was still only 30%.

By the end of 2012 there were 728 million pay-TV subscriptions, meaning that 53% of all households with a television had a pay-TV subscription.

The report shows the traditional pay-TV providers, DTH platforms and cable operators are facing increasing competition from IPTV providers and even DTT channels.

At the same time OTT-delivered services YouTube, Netflix and China’s PPLive service are gaining in popularity.

“New technologies are creating a plethora of new platforms for content sharing, which in turn is making television much more accessible over a wide range of devices,” said Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU. “This is very important in the developing world, where TV continues to play an important role in education and knowledge sharing.”

Globally, ITU figures show that there were an estimated 1.4 billion households with at least one TV set by end 2012. In the developing world as a whole, 72 per cent of households had a TV, compared with 98 per cent household penetration in developed countries. In Africa, fewer than one-third of households had a TV at end 2012.

In the developed world, an estimated 81 per cent of total households with a TV now receive a digital signal. But the digital switchover is also moving forward apace in the developing world, where the number of households receiving digital TV almost tripled in the four-year period from 2008 to end 2012, reaching 42 per cent.