North American and Western European pay-TV service operators risk being relegated to the role of content aggregators as they continue to lose subscribers. In contrast, pay-TV subscribers and revenues continue to exhibit strong growth outside these developed market regions, in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries in particular, according to excerpts from Infonetics Research’s latest “Pay TV Services and Subscribers” report.

“To stem the subscriber losses, incumbent MSOs including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and UPC are introducing new services, like home automation and multi-screen video to reduce subscriber churn and generate top-line revenue growth, in addition to deploying new technologies to lower the capex required to deliver broadcast video,” Infonetics’ principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV Jeff Heynen commented.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Pay-TV providers took in $287 billion worldwide in 2012, 10% more than in 2011, for cable and satellite pay TV and telco IPTV services;
  • Cable makes up the largest portion of the pay-TV market, but this will change by 2017 when satellite grows to more than 40% of total pay-TV revenue;
  • Telco IPTV revenue is growing fastest among the 3 pay-TV segments, forecast by Infonetics to grow at a 19% CAGR through 2017;
  • Pay-TV subscribers reached 730 million in 2012, up 7% from the previous year;
  • In 2012, digital cable pay-TV subscribers outnumbered analog subscribers for the first time, bolstered by European Union’s transition from analog to digital;
  • DirecTV and Comcast are the reigning kings of pay TV: DirecTV has the highest ARPU, while Comcast has the most subscribers.


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