Digital Cable Takes the Lead

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Digital cable in 2008 overtook direct-to-home satellite TV as the leading digital pay-TV platform.

Pop the Champagne!

This comes from U.K-based IMS Research, promoting an upcoming report on … worldwide digital TV. Digital cable was about 4.5 million customers behind DTH systems at the start of last year, but added an impressive 32 million subscribers to 16 million for the DTH providers. At the end of 2008 it was digital cable 130 million, DTH 119 million.

You know what they say, a half a billion Chinese can’t be wrong. IMS says 57% of the new digital cable subscribers were in China. Apparently DTH is an also-ran in China: this release for a report last year, done in cooperation with Chinese regulators, said 99.3% of pay-TV subscribers in China subscribe to cable. The cable share was expected to be around 90% in 2012.

Almost all of the other newcomers to digital cable were people in developed countries who upgraded from analog. This of course was before the U.S. conversion of broadcast TV to digital this past June 12, credited with adding 653,000 new customers to cable, satellite and telco players in the U.S., a Wells Fargo report said last week.

Presumably these newcomers will soon be clamoring to watch their TV online, too.