North American DTV Subscriptions Continue on Growth Trajectory

Thursday, June 21st, 2012
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Is Cord Cutting Really Making an Impact on North American Digital Television?

BOSTON — The North American Digital Television (DTV) market is continuing on a growth trajectory despite continued talk of cord cutting, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, “North America Digital Television Forecast: 1H’12.” Digital subscriptions will increase from 114 million in 2011 to 129 million in 2016, implying a five-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.36 percent. This is very welcome news for service providers in a highly saturated North American Pay TV market.

Cord cutting – consumers dropping traditional Pay TV services in favor of online viewing – is a factor that has yet to make an impact on North American Pay TV. The mix of DTV subscribers has changed over the past few years, but the total subscriber base continues to increase. Overall, the cable market will see a decline in subscribers; however, digital cable subscribers which totaled 49 million in 2011 will grow to nearly 54 million by 2016. Digital satellite and IPTV services will continue to reap the benefits of this changing market, with the latter growing from 8 million subscribers in 2011 to 20 million in 2016.

“Cord cutting could still have an impact on the Pay TV market, so we keep a close eye on the trends and activities of Pay TV consumers,” said Jason Blackwell, Director, Service Provider Strategies (SPS) at Strategy Analytics. “However, without a competitive level of content, alternative services have yet to offer a compelling alternative to the traditional Pay TV channel lineup.”

According to Richard Fontes, Analyst in the Service Provider Strategies (SPS) group, “Cable has been weakening for several quarters with most operators losing subscribers. Second screen, TV Everywhere, and other new services from cable operators will help slow these losses and keep higher value – meaning higher Average Revenue per User (ARPU) – digital subscribers in place.”