If you've been following the pay-TV adoption trend in the North American marketplace, then you may have assumed that the same story of declining subscribers was happening across the globe. But that's not true.
The global pay-TV market actually continues to grow in a few select markets -- despite the ongoing decline in the North America pay-TV market during 2012.
ABI Research forecasts that global pay TV subscribers will reach 858.1 million at the end of 2012 -- that's a 5 percent year-on-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.
That being said, the cable TV operators in United States have been facing a continuous decline in pay-TV subscribers. In the first two quarters of 2012, cable TV operators lost nearly 800 thousand subscribers.
The U.S. cable TV broadband subscriber base has continued to grow -- the internet access market opportunity is now the focal point of their long-term growth strategy. Telco IPTV, which has less penetration than cable or satellite in the U.S. market, gained around 600 thousand subscribers during the same period.
"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 and others are cheaper alternatives for pay-TV subscribers -- especially in these uncertain economic times," said Sam Rosen, practice director of TV & video at ABI Research.
ABI also says that they expect the overall pay-TV subscriber base in North America at the end of 2012 will decline by 0.2 percent from 2011. It would appear that the pay-TV subscriber decline will continue unabated.
In contrast, the Asian-Pacific region is expected to see the strongest growth in digital TV subscriptions in 2012. The ongoing digitization process in countries -- such as India -- has been steadily increasing digital TV penetration. Progress could be better.
The Indian government recently announced that it will not extend the deadline set for cable digitization of 12 million homes in the four major metro areas beyond October 31, 2012.
However, ABI is skeptical that target will be reached -- as only 68 percent has been achieved so far. Overall Asia-Pacific digital cable TV subscriber base is expected to reach 213 million by the end of 2012 -- that's a 27 percent increase from 2011.