Pay-TV in North America has been on a roller coaster ride during 2013 and into the first half of 2014. In the second half of 2013, and continuing into the first quarter of 2014, total tracked subscriptions in the U.S. increased at a modest rate. In the second quarter of 2014 the trend reversed, with total tracked subscriptions declining by 276,000. Digital subscriptions have continued to increase as cable operators move forward on transitions and IPTV vendors have continued to grow their subscriber bases.
U.S. market digital subscriptions increased by 239,000 during the second quarter, moving past 93 million total.
Since the end of the depression in 2009 typical U.S. family income has fallen 6% in real terms. During the same period the amount paid by consumers for pay-TV has increased in price between 12%-20%, and programming costs much more than that.
Under these conditions an economic cord cutting increase looks to be inevitable.
The Multiscreen Index, published by informitv, shows a 1.4% increase in digital television subscriber numbers across 100 leading pay-television services around the world in the first quarter of 2014.
Providers collectively gained 4.17 million video customers over three months and 17.43 million year on year, an increase of 5.2%.
Worldwide set-top box (STB) revenue totaled $4.8 billion in 1Q1 — that’s a decline of 3% from 4Q13. Cable STBs were the only segment to see unit and revenue growth in 1Q14, each up 5%. North America today commands the largest portion of STB revenue, but Asia Pacific is projected to close to within 3 percentage points by 2018.
A boost in overall STB unit shipments this year will come from an increase in over-the-top media servers as service providers in China and other emerging markets use these devices.
The U.S. pay-TV industry lost subscribers for the first time on a year-over-year basis in 2013. The top 8 cable providers, top 2 telcos and satellite operators dropped, overall, 0.4% of their video subscribers in 2013, down 340,000.
Penetration of households continues a long term decline, falling below 2009 levels.
The global set-top box (STB) market-including IP/cable/satellite/DTT STBs and OTT media servers-totaled $18 billion in 2013 — that’s a decline of 10% from the previous year. Pace closed out 2013 as the worldwide STB revenue and unit share leader, though Arris claimed the revenue share lead in 4Q13.
“The overall set-top box (STB) market declined in 2013, but cable and satellite video gateways had a very strong year, with shipments growing 333% and 98%, respectively,” says Jeff Heynen, principal analyst at Infonetics Research.
via Infonetics Research
“The pent-up demand for new Converged Cable Access Platform equipment is evident in the early volume deployments of CCAP gear, and we expect the upward trend in combined CMTS and CCAP channel shipments to continue as operators prepare their networks for DOCSIS 3.1,” notes Jeff Heynen.
Meanwhile, 4Q13 marks the highest number of combined CMTS and CCAP upstream and downstream DOCSIS channel shipments on record, owing largely to a 192% sequential jump in CCAP channel shipments.