SINGAPORE – Despite a decline in the North America pay-TV market in 2012, the global pay-TV market continues to grow. ABI Research forecasts that the number of global pay-TV subscribers will reach 858.1 million at the end of 2012, a 5 percent year-over-year increment from 2011. The key growth will be driven by the Asia-Pacific market, which is expected to add more than 27 million subscribers in 2012.

Cable TV operators in United States have faced a continuous decline in pay-TV subscribers. In the first two quarters of 2012, cable TV operators lost nearly 0.8 million subscribers, although their broadband subscriber base has continued to grow. IPTV, which has less penetration than cable or satellite in the US market, gained around 0.6 million subscribers during the same period.

Competition From Over-the-Top Video
ABI Research expects the overall pay-TV subscriber base in North America at the end of 2012 will be down 0.2 percent from 2011, largely because of the availability of Internet content. “As broadband adoption grows, it is likely that pay-TV subscribers are switching to Internet TV services. Internet TV services are cheaper than traditional pay-TV services or even free of charge. Services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. are cheaper alternatives for pay-TV subscribers, especially in these uncertain economic times,” says Sam Rosen, practice director of TV and video.

The Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the strongest growth in digital TV subscriptions in 2012, reaching 213 million by the end of the year. The ongoing digitization process in countries such as India has been steadily increasing digital TV penetration, though ABI Research is skeptical that the Indian government will reach its target of digital cable to 12 million homes by October 31, 2012.