Despite the downturn in the economy, Pyramid Research expects pay-TV subscribers to increase by 8 percent this year to reach nearly 733 million worldwide.
The year-over-year growth of 8 percent for this year is down from last year’s 11 percent growth, according to Ozgur Aytar, research manager at Pyramid Research.
Lower double-digit growth rates expected across emerging regions, coupled with the stabilizing effect of multi-play bundles and their increasing penetration – particularly in mature pay-TV markets – should, however, prevent the global subscriber base from falling off.
"We started the year with a great sense of uncertainty of the impact of the economic downturn on the pay-TV market, and while much uncertainty remains, pay-TV operators' first-quarter results published to date have not been so bad after all. Most continue to add subscribers, and those that are losing customers are doing so largely as a result of the entry of new competitors," said Aytar. "The more significant impact of the recession will be felt in customer spending on pay-TV services in 2009, as operators have increasingly been rolling out lower, ‘economy’ pay-TV and multi-play bundle tariffs to respond to mounting customer demand for less expensive services and to retain subscribers.”
"By our estimates, average expenditure per pay-TV household will decrease by 6 percent in 2009 worldwide and by as much as 20 percent in some of the emerging markets.”
According to Pyramid Research, cable TV operators are expected to generate more than half of the global pay-TV revenue in 2009, while prospects for IPTV platforms appear to be most promising across the Western European markets, where IPTV subscribers are projected to account for 15 percent of the total pay-TV base by year-end.
In other areas around the world, IPTV's share of subscribers will remain less than 5 percent of the total market.
"The slowdown in the global economy has hit both capex and the speed of broadband network deployments in emerging markets,” said Aytar.