Global Digital TV Homes Poised to Eclipse 1B

Cable to Remain the ‘Dominant Platform,' Despite Surge by Satellite and Terrestrial DTV, says Strategy Analytics

The number of global digital television homes is poised to surge past the 1 billion market by the end of 2014, marking a six-year compound annual growth rate of 10.7% for the overall DTV sector, predicts Strategy Analytics in its latest service provider report.

The combined base of digital, satellite, IPTV and terrestrial households totaled 755 million at the end of 2012, meaning the anticipated milestone is coming way of a two-year increase of about 245 million.

While cable will “remain the dominant platform” as MSOs around the world continue with digital transitions, satellite and terrestrial digital TV are expected to see significant growth.  Digital satellite, for example, will see global subscribers jump by 64% from 2012 to 2018, Strategy Analytics predicts.

Because the North American pay TV market is highly saturated, growth for individual providers tend to come way of churn rather than large numbers of new subscribers. Still, digital TV subscriptions in the region will grow from 125 million to 141 million by 2018, the firm said.

"Even though many countries have completed their digital transitions, there is still a lot of room for growth in digital television globally," Jason Blackwell, director of service provider strategies at Strategy Analytics said, in a statement.  "Perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest growth rates over the next few years will be in digital terrestrial. Most countries will complete the digital transition by 2018 and pay digital terrestrial as well as free-to-air terrestrial services will benefit from these transitions."

But all providers should benefit because digital subscribers typically pay more in base subscription fees and generate video-on-demand sales. “As a result, we expect to see digital pay TV revenues grow by 45% between 2012 and 2018,” added Eric Smith, an analyst with the firm’s service provider strategies group.