The video entertainment sector is still going through a period of transition, as consumer viewing habits shift and evolve. Besides, in the mature markets -- such as North America -- more subscribers are expected to totally abandon pay-TV due to the rising cost of traditional services.
Meanwhile, the worldwide pay-TV market is expected to surpass 920 million subscribers by the end of 2014, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.
Overall, pay-TV average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to drop slightly due to increasing price competition, but at a lower rate compared to the ARPU drop in 2013.
"The growing number of high-definition (HD) subscribers as well as major sporting events such as the World Cup 2014 have contributed to improving ARPU," said Jake Saunders, VP and practice director of core forecasting at ABI Research.
As a result, the total pay-TV service provider market is expected to generate over $269 billion by the end of 2014.
Notably, DirecTV added 543,000 subscribers in 2Q 2014 within the Latin America market. It was a sharp increase compared to subscriber net additions of 165,000 in the same quarter of 2013.
ARPU in local currency also increased 8 percent from 2Q 2013. Subscriber growth in Latin America was mainly driven by the World Cup 2014 matches although DirecTV did not benefit from the event as it lost around 39,000 subscribers in the U.S. market.
ABI Research anticipates that the worldwide pay-TV subscriber base will grow to nearly 1.1 billion subscribers generating $323 billion by 2019. Most of the new subscriber growth will occur in emerging markets.
The IPTV market share grew by just over 1 percent point in 2Q 2014 compared to 2Q 2013. Competition in the global pay-TV market is growing with the rapid evolution of IPTV and over-the-top (OTT) online video services.
In Japan, satellite TV operator, Sky Perfect, lost over 200,000 subscribers over the past year due to increasing competition from alternative pay-TV platforms. To counter churn and maintain service revenue, SKY Perfect has developed VOD services which allows customers to access video content from multiple devices including smartphones and media tablets.
SKY Perfect encouraged 126,000 of its customers to subscribe to VOD services at the end of 1Q 2014. The advent of multi-screen services are helping some of the more progressive pay-TV operators to reduce subscriber churn and boost revenue.