The decline of pay TV subscriber totals in the U.S. has been well documented during the past few years but that doesn’t necessarily mean the industry isn’t growing elsewhere around the globe.
ABI Research’s newest pay TV subscribers market data report predicts the global market for pay TV will grow at a steady pace and surpass 1.1 billion subscribers by 2024. This is despite struggles in the U.S. where in the first quarter of 2019, cable, satellite and IPTV services lost more than 1.2 million subscribers.
ABI Research pointed toward streaming video services as the primary culprit for the decline in the U.S.
“High-speed broadband penetration, along with the availability of multiple streaming services, is driving the declining pay TV trend. Increasing broadband penetration is, in fact, accelerating the adoption of online video services across different regions,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research, in a statement.
Pay TV operators have introduced lower-cost live streaming services and deployed Android TV-based set-top boxes to better integrate streaming services with pay TV services. As the report points out, although cord cutting is significant only in mature markets, pay TV operators in emerging markets are also embracing Android TV to facilitate streaming features to their pay TV customers. Airtel and Hathway from India, and Telkom Indonesia are some operators from emerging markets which are deploying Android TV set-top boxes.
Lynn said that analytics has become another important area of investment for pay TV providers seeking to retain customers.
“Analytics solutions based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms can provide comprehensive insights on content consumption, prediction of churn, etc., which is valuable for content recommendation, improving user interface, and proposing best-fit packages to customers to prevent or reduce subscriber loss,” Lynn said.
While ABI Research’s report paints a rosy picture for worldwide pay TV, subscriber losses in the U.S. continue. AT&T, Charter and Comcast reported in aggregate 1.2 million net pay TV subscriber losses for the second quarter, leading analyst firm MoffettNathanson at the time to call the early read on traditional cord cutting “freaking ugly.”