Worldwide digital TV households hit 42.5%


Digital TV Research has calculated that a strong growth in 2010 has resulted in over half a billion digital TV homes supporting a pay-TV market worth $155 billion. The analyst’s  Digital TV World Databook shows that about 338 million digital homes were added around the world between 2006 and 2010, driving digital TV household penetration by the end of 2010 to 576 million, 42.5% for the 73 countries covered.

Digital penetration climbed from 18.9% at end-2006 to 42.5% by the end of 2010. Says the report’s author Simon Murray: “There were still 780 million analog TV households (both terrestrial and cable, with a few analog satellite DBS ones) by end-2010. However, this was down from 1,023 million at end-2006.”

Split by platform, there were still 486 million analog terrestrial homes, 290 million analog cable homes and 3 million analog DBS homes at the end of 2010.

However, digital cable was in 203 million homes, followed by 139 million pay digital DBS and 97 million free-to-air digital DBS. Pay IPTV brought in another 35 million households. Meanwhile, OTA/FTA (free-to-air) DTT/DTV homes reached 94 million, with pay DTT/DTV generating a further 9 million.

Murray said: “Of the digital homes added between 2006 and 2010, 70 million came from primary DTT/DTV [homes taking DTT but not subscribing to cable, DTH/DBS or IPTV]. Digital cable contributed a further 145 million, pay DTH 59 million, with pay IPTV providing an additional 31 million. The universe is not static as 95 million TV households were added between 2006 and 2010 to bring the total to 1,355 million. Of the additions, 64 million came from the Asia Pacific region.”

Analog terrestrial was still the most popular platform at end-2010, accounting for 35.9% of the world’s TV households, with analog cable second at 21.4%. Digital cable was the most popular digital platform, securing 14.9% of TV households. Pay digital DBS was next at 10.3%, followed by FTA (free-to-air) digital DBS with 7.2%. About 6.9% of homes were primary OTA DTV, with 0.6% pay DTV. Pay IPTV penetration reached 2.6% at end-2010, up from only 0.3% at end-2006.

Of the 338 million digital TV households added between 2006 and 2010, 169 million were in the Asia Pacific region, bringing its total to 218 million. China became the largest digital TV household nation in 2010. Only Finland was completely digital by the end of 2010.

Pay TV penetration (analog and digital combined) reached half of the world’s TV households by the end of 2010, up from 40% at the end of 2006. Penetration at the end of 2010 varied from 90% in North America to 14% in the Middle East and Africa. Pay TV penetration was highest in the Netherlands, at 99% by the end of 2010. However, China had the most pay TV subs, at 195 million by the end of 2010. The USA and India also had more than 100 million pay TV subs.

Pay TV revenues reached $155 billion in 2010, up from $124 billion in 2006. Cable (analog and digital combined) generated the highest revenues by platform, with $76 billion in 2010. However, cable revenues are flattening and free OTA DTV will overtake it in 2011. IPTV revenues reached $6 billion in 2010, up from less than $1 billion in 2006. North America is the largest provider of pay TV revenues, but its total dropped in 2010 as competition and bundling had an impact.