A growing audience for digital TV

The conversion of TV households to digital services continues with momentum, with around 85 million digital TV households expected to be added in 2010, bringing the global total to 517 million and digital penetration to 40 per cent. By the end of 2015, according to statistics from Informa Telecoms & Media, the total number of digital TV households will be approaching the one billion mark, representing a penetration rate of 65 per cent.

According to the research, more than 401 million digital homes will be added between the end of this year and the end of 2015. China will contribute a massive 136 million of these additions, followed by India, bringing in 47 million, Russia 31 million, and the US 21 million.

At the end of this year, the North American digital TV penetration rate will be 86 per cent, with Western Europe not far behind at 78 per cent. By 2015 digital TV penetration in both regions will reach 100 per cent and 95 per cent respectively, Informa predicts.

Even though both Asia and Western Europe accounted for a similar number of digital homes by the end of 2008, Informa believes that the sheer scale of the Asia Pacific market means it has now leapt ahead, and will continue to extend its lead, likely accounting for 46 per cent of the world’s digital TV homes by the end of 2015.

Finland was the first country to achieve complete digital switchover, in 2008, and by 2015, 18 countries will be completely digital, and another five countries will have above 90 per cent digital penetration. Only eight of the 55 countries covered by Informa’s research will have lower than 50 per cent digital penetration, the analyst said.

Get more information on the Informa report

“We should not ignore the fact that there will still be 375 million analogue terrestrial homes by 2015, most of which in the Asia Pacific region,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Informa. “On the upside, there is plenty of room for growth. Within the next five years, Informa forecasts that a further 28 per cent of homes will take digital cable, with pay DTH at 14 per cent and pay IPTV on five per cent. Primary DTT—defined as those homes taking DTT but not subscribing to digital cable, pay DTH or pay IPTV— will likely achieve 14 per cent penetration by the end of 2015.”

In terms of revenue generation, Informa believes that by the end of 2015, only 47 per cent of the world’s TV households will be paying for digital services, up from 28 per cent (364 million) in 2010. Including analogue cable, the total number of pay TV homes is set to rise by just 19 per cent from 658 million (50 per cent penetration) in 2010 to 785 million (56 per cent penetration) in 2015, due mainly to the competitive attraction of DTT.


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