IPTV, satellite ready to dominate global pay-TV business

Good old cable TV continues to be the leading way in which consumers worldwide get their pay-TV services, but its reign at the top may be nearing an end, according to an Infonetics Research report forecasting and analyzing telco IPTV, cable video and satellite video services.

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Among other findings in the report, Pay TV Services and Subscribers, is that the entire pay-TV market--of which about half is now controlled by cable companies--continues to grow globally and will increase from $261 billion in 2011 to $371 billion in 2016. The North American market was most highly valued because of high ARPU but Latin America and Asia were quickly gaining ground.

The report pointed to Mexico's pay-TV service America Movil (NYSE: AMX), which saw pay-TV subscribers and revenue grow in triple-digital percentages from 2010 to 2011.

Even with the international markets starting to percolate, the two global leaders remained DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA). DirecTV led the ARPU parade, thanks to the cable-despised NFL Sunday ticket package, but Comcast led in subscribers with 22 million in 2011.

While the market leaders remained steady, the market itself is ready for a big global shift, Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access and video at Infonetics and the report's author, said in a statement.

"Cable video still makes up over half of the global pay TV market but revenue growth is decelerating due to a slowdown in new subscribers, especially in the lucrative North American market as competition from satellite and IPTV operators intensifies and as OTT offerings from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), Hulu and others siphon away a small, but growing number of households."

One thing didn't change and probably won't. Being big isn't necessarily an advantage--but it doesn't hurt. According to the research, the top 20 pay revenue leaders brought in 50 percent of the revenue even while the top 20 subscriber leaders represented just 30 percent of the subscribers.

For more:
 - see the Infonetics release

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