North America still ripe ground for pay-TV subs

Joseph O'Halloran | 01-05-2013
It may be the home of cord-cutting and OTT but North America is still a growing market for pay-TV subs according to a new survey from Digital TV Research.
The analyst calculates that the number of pay-TV subscribers will climb by 7.5 million between 2012 and 2018 to 119.5 million, increasing by 1.5 million in 2013 alone. Yet the analyst added that pay-TV revenues from subscriptions and on-demand peaked in North America in 2012 and that they will fall by $5.3 billion to $83.7 billion in 2018.
In shedding light on the dynamics of why pay-TV should still be growing in a market where leading over the top players Netflix and Hulu have gone from strength to strength, the analyst revealed that most of the slipping in pay-TV subscribers have originated from former analogue cable customers. Indeed, Digital TV Research estimates that nearly 20 million analogue cable subscribers were lost between 2008 and 2012 and more are to come.
“Most of the remaining analogue cable subscribers are either reluctant to pay more for digital packages or they are just not that interested in TV, said report author Simon Murray. “These subscribers will only make the decision to convert to digital when there are no other options.”
Digital TV Research also says that TV ARPU is being forced down as cable operators and telco/IPTV providers convert their subscribers to dual-play or triple-play bundles and that this fall will continue. In terms of platforms, it expects satellite TV [DTH/DBS] to overtake cable to become the largest pay]-TV platform earner in 2017.