Cable TV

Pay TV growth spurred by BRIC nations, says ABI Research

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MUMBAI: India is just a year into the process of digitisation, and, in another year, it is quite likely all of the nation's 100-odd million cable TV homes will be having a set top box (STB) perched on top of their TV sets. The rapid spread of the STB and pay TV is ensuring that India increasingly pops up in research reports on pay TV as a major contributor of growth. Other countries which are also helping spike pay TV growth are Brazil, Russia and China.

Take a dekko at the latest report released by international research firm ABI Research. It states that the pay TV subscriber base across the world surpassed 886.5 million at the end of Q3 2013, a six per cent YoY increase and generated $ 62.6 billion service revenue. Maintaining its Q2 2013 status, BRIC (Brazil Russia India China) nations were a major contributor and will continue to be in the future years, ABI has stated.

The research predicts that by 2018, global pay TV subscribers will shoot to more than 1 billion out of which BRIC countries will be responsible for 68 per cent of total net additional subscribers.

“Emerging markets are key drivers of global growth in pay-TV subscribers as developed markets are experiencing flat growth rates,” said ABI Research VP and practice director Jake Saunders.

The US Pay TV market grew at less than one per cent as compared to Q3 2012, due to increasing cord cutting by cable TV subscribers who are switching over to cheaper OTT services such as Netflix and Hulu. According to the report, approximately 1.7 million subscribers were lost from cable TV last year in North America. However, revenues increased due to high ARPUs (Average Revenue per User) driven by increasing HD and advanced DVR (Digital Video Recorder) subscribers.

European countries also showed marginal growth with less than two per cent increase than Q3 last year. Service providers in Spain lost over seven per cent of their pay TV subscribers and Italy over two per cent as compared to a year ago due to the weak economic environment. However, markets such as the UK, France and Germany along with other Western Europe countries saw IPTV subscribers increase by 1.9 million from Q3 2012 to Q3 2013.

According to a 2012 report by the Singapore-based Media Partners Asia (MPA) overall pay TV subscribers in India were expected to cross 170 million in five years. Much like the US, India is also set to see revenue increase due to HD TV sets. India has one of the lowest ARPUs in the world at approximately Rs 140 ($ 2.2) but the industry is optimistic that it will grow to Rs 550 ($ 8.73) once digitisation is complete.

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