Report: Pay TV Landscape Fragments as To Providers Lose Subs

family watching TV
(Image credit: Getty Images)

HARROW, U.K.—A new report finds that the global pay TV business is fragmenting with the top 50 pay TV operators serving about 62% of the world’s 1.02 billion pay TV subs in 2026, down from 64% in the middle of 2020, according to Digital TV Research. 

Its new "Global Pay TV Operator Forecasts" is predicting that the top 10 global operators will lose about 11 million subs over that five year period, dropping to 412 million in 2026 and the top 50 operators will lose about 20 million, declining to about 627 million in 2026.

In contrast, the report predicts that the operators outside the top 100 will gain subs. 

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, noted that “most industries consolidate as they mature. The pay TV sector is doing the opposite – fragmenting. Most of the subscriber growth will take place in developing countries where operators are not controlled by larger corporations.”

By the end of 2020, 13 operators had more than 10 million pay TV subscribers. China and India will continue to dominate the top pay TV operator rankings, partly as their subscriber bases climb but also due to the US operators losing subscribers, the report noted. 

Between 2020 and 2026, 307 of the 503 operators (61%) will gain subscribers, with 13 showing no change and 183 losing subscribers (36%). 

In 2020, 28 pay TV operators earned more than $1 billion in revenues, but this will drop to 24 operators by 2026, the report also predicated. 

The  "Global Pay TV Operator Forecasts" report covers 503 operators on 726 platforms (132 digital cable, 116 analog cable, 279 satellite, 142 IPTV and 57 DTT) across 135 countries. 

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.