Despite basic video subscriber losses in the United States, the worldwide pay TV subscriber base topped 886.5 million in the recent third quarter, which was a 6 percent increase year-over-year.
According to a report by ABI Research, pay TV service revenues in the United States generated $62.6 billion in the third quarter.
ABI estimated that cable operators in North America lost around 1.7 million subscribers over the last year. In terms of pay-TV service revenue, North America grew nearly 3 percent from the third quarter a year ago.
“Despite the declining subscriber base, pay-TV service revenue in North America grew due to increased average revenue per user which is driven by an increasing proportion of HD and advanced DVR subscribers,” said ABI industry analyst Khin Sandi Lynn.
The pay-TV subscriber base in Western Europe grew less than 2 percent in the most recent third quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. ABI said the number of subscribers in Spain and Italy has been declining for a number of consecutive quarters. Pay-TV service providers in Spain and Italy lost over 7 percent and 2 percent, respecitvly, of their total subscriber base compared to a year ago.
Operators cited the weak economic environment for declining subscriber counts, but other countries, such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, contributed to regional market growth.
Net additions in IPTV subscribers were the prime driver of pay-TV regional growth; other pay-TV platforms saw only marginal increases. ABI Research estimateed the IPTV subscriber base in Western Europe increased 1.9 million year-over-year in the third quarter.
ABI Research forecast that the global pay-TV subscriber base would eclipse 1 billion by 2018, generating service revenue $ 229.6 billion. BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries will account for 68 percent of total net additional subscribers by 2018.
“Emerging markets are key drivers of global growth in pay-TV subscribers as developed markets are experiencing flat growth rates,” said Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director for ABI.