Global Pay TV Industry - Statistics & Facts

Since the 80s and 90s, pay TV services such as satellite and digital cable have found massive success and become one of the most common sources for news and entertainment around the world. Recent technological advances, such as on-demand streaming services, have begun to challenge pay TV’s place in the market and driven many consumers to cut their pay TV subscriptions altogether. Global pay TV revenue is expected to fall in the coming years from around 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 to as low as 183 billion by 2023. Analog cable TV has essentially died out, and digital cable seems to have entered a slow decline, but pay satellite TV has remained a bright spot in the industry and is expected to see moderate gains, possibly due to the fact that many people in remote areas have trouble getting consistent internet and cable connections.

The good news for anyone interested in seeing pay TV succeed is that there is a strong, growing Asia-Pacific market that may be able to keep the industry alive and well for years to come. Estimates suggest that the region could have as many as 666 million pay TV subscribers by 2022, a massive increase from its 393 million mark set in 2010. In almost all recent quarters, the region has seen gains in pay TV subscribers on a scale that other regions haven’t been able to replicate.

Even at a global scale, the pay TV market is primarily dominated by a select few American companies. Perhaps the biggest of all of these, Comcast, produced revenues of nearly 85 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. Although the U.S. based companies are the biggest and most well-established, they will need to try to expand to new markets and capture market share in growing regions if they expect to remain at the top of the global industry.

North American pay TV revenue is expected to decline drastically in the coming years, with the increased popularity of streaming services. More and more U.S. households are beginning to cut the cord and drop their pay TV subscriptions. In fact, pay TV penetration rate dropped from 88 percent in 2010 to just 78 percent 8 years later. In contrast, the Latin American, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East/Africa pay TV markets have all seen increases in revenues in recent years. Although the global revenue figures look daunting, closer inspection shows that most, if not all, of this decline is due to the U.S. market.

The global revenue numbers aren’t the only thing that offers hope to the industry; 65 percent of consumers around the world state that they have no plans to change their pay TV spending and another 14 percent state that they intend to increase their spending.

Overall, the numbers seem to show mixed results for the global industry. Outside of North America the state of the industry seems somewhat positive, but with the American market adopting streaming technology so quickly, many investors will question whether it is foreshadowing the fate of the industry worldwide.

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