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US pay TV penetration flat, revenues to fall by $5bn

Pay TV penetration has reached saturation point in the US and Canada and pay TV revenues will fall by over US$5 billion in North America between 2012 and 2018, according to new research.

Digital TV Research’s North America report, published today, says that pay TV revenues in the region peaked in 2012 at US$89 billion. The 2013 will be slightly below that but the total will continue to fall between now and 2018 when cumulative pay TV revenues will be US$83.7 billion.

Digital TV Research also forecasts that satellite will overtake cable as the dominant pay TV platform in 2017.

Report author Simon Murray noted that pricing will become the key battleground as pay TV operators battle for new subs. He said: “TV ARPU is being forced down as cable operators and telcos convert their subscribers to dual-play or triple-play bundles, though blended [overall] ARPU is rising. But it won’t end there. As the analog cable networks switch off, operators across all of the digital platforms will try to outdo each other on promotions, with pricing becoming a more and more important tool.”

However, the growth in the number of TV homes in North America means that while penetration remains flat there will actually be more pay TV subscribers across the measurement period. The total will climb by 7.5 million between 2012 and 2018 reaching 119.5 million by that point. There will be an uptick of 1.5 billion in 2013 alone, according to Digital TV Research.

The report does not factor in subscribers to Netflix and other streaming and over the top services.