According to new figures from Ampere Analysis, Q2 pay-TV subscriber totals were 0.5 percent higher than in Q1 2020, indicating that even with the increased economic pressures and cancellation of live sport globally, there is still room for growth, particularly in emerging markets.
Ampere’s pay-TV market bellwether represents a set of over 70 reporting companies, which account for more than half of the world’s 1.1 billion pay-TV subscribers.
The numbers are highly regional. Removing the world’s three most populous nations, China, India and the U.S. has global net additions across bellwether companies at just 0.1 percent growth (up from 0.2 percent loss in Q1 2020). The seven bellwether companies in the U.S. have shed more than 6.3 million net subscriber in the past four quarters. Countries such as France and Spain, which saw the largest bellwether net additions in more than a year, are offsetting losses from the likes of Canada, whose four bellwether companies saw their second largest combined quarterly subscriber loss ever.
Of the bellwether companies that had reported at the time of publication, 44 percent saw growth in the quarter, with positive net additions of nearly 7 million subscribers. This was partially offset by the remaining 56 percent, which lost a total of nearly 3.9 million customers. The net effect was a growth of just over 3.1 million pay-TV subscribers in the quarter.
China, which has seen more than 3.1 million net additions across bellwether companies, has had a significant role in keeping the global pay-TV market buoyant. Outside mainland China, bellwether pay-TV operators in the rest of the world lost around 1.1 million net subscribers in total. The U.S. saw the most losses, of 1.4 million subscribers in the quarter across bellwether companies, although saw slight growth from Charter and very slight recovery from Dish, which had both suffered last quarter.
Toby Holleran, senior analyst, commented: “While some countries are seeing pay TV subscriptions suffer due to the COVID pandemic, particularly caused by the transient loss of sport, there is still growth in the market, driven partly by bundling of services and by emerging markets. Cord-cutters in a number of developed territories like Canada—whose pay-TV market continues to mirror its North American neighbor—are being replaced by newer TV customers in emerging markets, leaving the market as a whole stable. But there is a little growth left even in some developed nations such as France and Spain which are bucking the trend of stagnation in Western territories.”