Half the world's homes to have digital TV by 2013

Monday, September 8th, 2008

300 million digital homes to be added in the next five years

Digital TV growth continues apace, with Informa Telecoms and Media forecasting 67 million households to be added in 2008. This figure from Informa’s Global Digital TV 8th edition report will bring the worldwide total to 343 million, meaning digital penetration of TV households at 24% by year-end.

The North American penetration rate will exceed 77%, with Western Europe at 63%. A further 62 million digital homes will be added to the total in 2009.

By 2013, half the world’s TV homes will receive digital signals – or 636 million households. Simon Murray, author of the report, said: “This indicates that digital growth will accelerate as the decade progresses, especially outside North America and Western Europe. More than 293 million digital homes will be added between end-2008 and end-2013.”

China will be a major contributor to this increase, accounting for 79 million of the extra homes. Other significant rises will come in the US (30 million more), Japan (14 million) and India (26 million). Murray continued: “These four countries combined will take half the additional digital households. However, most countries will experience significant additions to their digital household total.”

Digital TV household composition in 2013 (million):

                    Cable       DTH      IPTV      DTT#  Freesat#  Total TV*
                 --------  --------  --------  --------  --------  ---------
Asia Pacific          147        36        22        26        15        676
Europe - East          15        13         5        10         9        134
Europe - West          35        31        17        59        16        174
Latin America          16         9         2         3         0        124
Middle East@            2         2         0         2        11         22
North America          75        38         8        11         0        133
                 --------  --------  --------  --------  --------  ---------
  Total               290       129        54       111        51      1,262

# Homes not paying to receive cable, DTH or IPTV signals
* Includes digital and analog homes
@ Israel and Turkey only

Source: Informa Telecoms & Media

Cable will be the main source of digital TV households, bringing in 290 million homes by 2013. Pay DTH will be the next most popular delivery system at 129 million. Digital cable overtook pay DTH during 2007. There will be 111 million DTT homes and 51 million freesat homes (both of which do not subscribe to cable, satellite or IPTV services) and 54 million households paying to receive IPTV signals.

However, Murray commented: “627 million homes will still take analog signals, so digital growth is likely to extend way beyond the forecast period. The North American market will be very close to complete digital conversion by 2013, with Western Europe also enjoying high rates. Penetration rates will vary considerably from one country to the next, even within more ‘developed’ regions such as Western Europe.”

More than a fifth of homes will take digital cable, with high penetration in North America boosting this figure. Digital DTH will be strong in North America and Europe, but less so elsewhere. DTT will be taken by 9% of global TV households, but will be as high as 34% of Western European homes. Free-to-air satellite will appear in 4% of global TV households.

At present, Asia Pacific, Western Europe and North America each have a similar number of digital homes at around the 100 million mark. Although every region will grow in the next five years, Asia Pacific will really take off by more than doubling its digital total.

By 2013, Asia Pacific will account for 39% of the world’s digital homes, with North America taking 21% and Western Europe 25%. Asia Pacific will overtake North America in 2008, and will surpass Western Europe in 2009.

The U.S. is forecast to have 90 million digital households (a quarter of the world’s total) by end-2008. The U.S. will add 19 million more digital homes between end-2008 and end-2013, taking 19% of the global total.

China will be the largest digital nation by 2013, having overtaken the US that year. China will gain 79 million digital homes between 2008 and 2013 to reach a total of 123 million. The top five countries will account for 55% of the global total in 2013.

Half the world’s TV households will receive digital signals by 2013, up from 24% at end-2007 and 29% at end-2008. North American penetration will reach 99% by 2013. By end-2007, the UK had the highest digital penetration rate, at 87%.

Finland was the first sizable country to achieve complete digital switchover – in February. By 2013, six countries will be completely digital, 14 countries will be above 90% digital penetration and 34 countries will exceed 50%.

The 414-page Global Digital Television – 8th edition is published by Informa Telecoms & Media. Informa Telecoms & Media produces a wide range of media business publications, including TV International, New Media Markets, Cable & Satellite Europe and Television Business International. It publishes a market-leading portfolio of regional TV reports – including Western European TV, Asia Pacific TV, Middle East & North Africa TV and Eastern European TV.