DTH poised for growth; subscribers to touch 200 million by 2018

MUMBAI: The global Direct-To-Home (DTH) service is poised for growth and the subscribers are likely to cross the 200 million mark by 2018. According to NSR’s new report, "Global Direct-to-Home (DTH) Markets, 2nd Edition," satellite television has proven its resilience in tough economic climates, driven primarily by a larger section of viewers choosing television as a cost effective means of entertainment. A total of 99 DTH operators beam over 13,800 channels to 114 million subscribers generating over $65 billion in subscription revenue as of the end of 2008 — and the collective pie continues to grow.

The report spans 10 regions and finds both similarities and differences that have made the whole DTH market greater than the sum of its parts. North America, Western Europe and East Asia dominate all channel, subscriber and revenue counts, and growth in these regions comes from premium services such as High Definition (HD) and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs).

Central & Eastern Europe, South Asia and South America, on the other hand, are very much on the growth track, but in their case, plain vanilla DTH subscribers are the biggest drivers. NSR’s multi-regional presence with analysts in five distinct regions of the world provides for both local perspective and global coverage of these trends.

NSR’s platform-by-platform approach allows it to quantify the impact of the economic changes on each platform’s individual performance. Primary research, in the form of extensive interviews, has confirmed that the economic impact has been cushioned as operators try to cash in on the "stay at home" phenomenon. Another trend that defines the mature markets is that of fierce competition as cable and satellite battle it out, and the threat of IPTV looms large in countries such as France and the United States.

Elsewhere, DTH platforms are cooperating with telecom giants to carry the trinity of voice, video and data over a combination of media. Foes turn into friends as platforms consolidate in order to achieve the critical mass required to bring in advertising revenues. NSR has not only looked at the prevailing market trends, but gone on to analyze their impact, both in the past year and forwards until 2018.

Regarding the difference of this report from other DTH studies, Senior Analyst, Prashant Butani stated, "Television is an industry that everyone can talk about because we are all part of the audience. However, quantifying market trends is a different issue altogether, and this is where NSR’s 10 region, 100 operator, 2,800 data point forecast delivers the bottom line to those that want more detail. NSR’s report further segments these numbers into 4 product categories that allow companies serving this industry to go after their target market more effectively."

NSR expects 13,875 channels carried on board DTH platforms today to grow to more than 21,000 in 2018 at a compounded annual growth rate of 4.6%. Basic DTH service subscribers are on their way to being matched by premium subscribers as 114 million DTH subscribers are expected to grow to 209 million by 2018. Revenues from Basic DTH services are expected to contribute smaller percentages going forward as subscribers switch to the higher ARPU premium services. Altogether, subscription revenues are expected to grow from $65 billion in 2008 to over $100 billion by 2018.

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