“Despite the growth in subscriber base, weak currency exchange rates resulted in a slower increase of pay TV market service revenue. Worldwide the pay TV market generated US$257 billion in 2014 and is expected to surpass 1.1 billion subscribers in 2020 with a CAGR 2.7%,” commented Jake Saunders, VP and practice director of core forecasting.
Cable and terrestrial TV markets had weaker growth rates in 2014 compared to satellite and IPTV platforms. However, HD penetration is increasing across all pay TV platforms because of the increasing number of HD channels added by operators. In 2014, 44% of the worldwide pay TV subscriber base were HD subscribers, with the highest HD penetration in Western Europe and North America. HD penetration is expected to reach 60% of the total pay TV market in 2020.
Pay TV operators are now moving towards 4K or Ultra HD service. In November, US satellite operator DirecTV launched its first 4K programming without any additional monthly charges to subscribers with its HD DVR, Genie and DirecTV 4K Ready television set, which is any of Samsung’s smart 4K TV models. Online video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon also started to offer 4K content in late 2014. When content availability and 4K TV set adoption increase, 4K services are likely to become a differentiator for pay TV service providers.
In 4Q 2014, US cable operators lost roughly 100,000 subscribers while Comcast gained 7,000 subscribers. The country’s largest satellite TV provider, DirecTV gained 149,000 subscribers in 4Q 2014 which is the highest net addition since 2012. “As competition in the pay TV market increases, quality of content, innovations, and service pricing are among the important factors for pay TV operators to maintain customer base. ABI Research forecasts that the global pay TV market will generate $313 billion service revenues by 2020,” added Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst.