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Pay TV Subscribers Are Growing, But Revenues Are Falling Fast

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Pay TV providers are seeing strong growth globally, but that doesn’t mean business is good. According to Digital TV Research, the number of pay TV subscribers will grow by 380 million from 2010 to 2024. During that same time, however, total revenues (for subscription services and transactional purchases) will fall by 14% to $177 billion. That means revenue for 2024 will be at the same level that it was in 2010.

News 1Pay TV revenue peaked at $205 billion in 2016. So why is revenue declining as subscriber numbers grow? Because that growth is coming from less-developed areas, where services go for less money.

“Subscriber growth is mainly in developing countries where ARPU is lower than the developed countries," explains Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. "In addition, subs are moving away from standalone packages to double-play and triple-play bundles. Standalone packages are more lucrative to TV.”

Digital TV Research looked at pay TV services in 138 countries.

Of pay TV's 10 most lucrative countries, 8 will show revenue declines between 2018 and 2024. The U.S. will lead with a 22%—or $21 billion—decline. In the U.S., pay TV revenue peaked in 2015 at $106 billion. By 2024, the U.S. market will be worth $76 billion.

For strong growth, pay TV should look to India, which will gain $1 billion in revenue between 2018 and 2024, growing to a $6.3 billion market.

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