Pay-TV subscriptions for 338 operators across 89 countries will increase by 200 million from a collective 704 million in 2014 to 904 million by 2020, according to a new report from Digital TV Research. The Global Pay TV Operator Forecasts report estimates that 29 operators had more than 5 million paying subs by end-2014.
China Radio and TV is the world’s largest pay-TV operator by a long way. Government policy to consolidate cable TV means that China Radio and TV quickly became the world’s largest pay-TV operator, with 198 million subs by end-2014. The operator will soon represent every cable TV home in China, with 252 million subscribers expected by 2020 – up by nearly 54 million on 2014.
Following China Radio and TV, IPTV operators China Telecom and BesTV will add 14.7 million and 13.2 million subs respectively. Twelve operators from China and India will collectively add 130 million subscribers between 2014 and 2020.
Global subscriber growth is even more impressive as 23 per cent of the 338 operators will lose subscribers between 2014 and 2020. Korea’s CJ Hellovision will lose the most, followed by Germany’s Unitymedia and Romania’s RCS-RDS. Very broadly, pay-TV operators in Asia Pacific’s emerging markets will see strong growth, with north America and western Europe suffering.
Despite adding 200 million subscribers between 2014 and 2020, subscription and VoD revenues for the 338 operators will remain flat at $183 billion. From the total, 34 pay-TV operators earned more than $1 billion in subscription and VoD revenues in 2014.
The dominance of China and India is diminished when the operators are ranked in subscriptions and VoD revenue terms. Led by DirecTV (now owned by AT&T, which owned three of the top ten operators by revenues in 2014), the US will take six of the top ten positions in both 2014 and 2020.
China Radio and TV will add a massive $2.16 billion between 2014 and 2020, and five operators in total will add more than $500 million in revenues. However, 29 per cent of operators will lose revenues, with Comcast declining by the most – followed by Time Warner and DirecTV.