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Emerging Markets Push Global Pay-TV Subscriber Base Past 886.5 M in Q3 2013

By Caleb Henry | November 14, 2013

      [Via Satellite 11-14-13] Worldwide pay-TV subscriber base surpassed 886.5 million people at the end of the third quarter of 2013 – a 6 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase – generating  $62.6 billion service revenue during this period according to ABI Research.

      “Emerging markets are key drivers of global growth in pay-TV subscribers as developed markets are experiencing flat growth rates,” said Jake Saunders, VP and practice director, ABI Research.

      The pay-TV subscriber base in Western Europe grew less than 2 percent in Q3 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Notably, the number of subscribers in Spain and Italy has been declining for a number of consecutive quarters. Operators blame the weak economic environment for declining subscriber counts, however other countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, contributed to regional market growth.

      Net additions in IPTV subscribers are the prime driver of pay-TV regional growth; other pay-TV platforms saw only marginal increases. ABI Research estimates the IPTV subscriber base in Western Europe increased 1.9 million in Q3 2013 from the same period the year before.

      In North America, pay-TV subscribers dropped slightly (less than 1 percent) from the third quarter of 2012, mainly due to contracting subscriber counts in the cable TV sector. It is estimated that cable TV operators in North America lost around 1.7 million subscribers in the last year. In terms of pay-TV service revenue, North America grew nearly 3 percent 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 HD and advanced DVR subscribers,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst, ABI Research.

      The firm forecasts the global pay-TV subscriber base will eclipse 1 billion by 2018, generating service revenue of $229.6 billion. BRIC countries will account for 68 percent of total net additional subscribers by 2018.