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North America’s IPTV subs base to grow 73% by 2017

Pay-TV revenues in North America will hit their peak in 2013 before gradually falling by US$ 2.6bn to reach US$ 88.2bn in 2017, according to a new report from UK firm Digital TV Research.

The report predicts that the number of homes paying for managed IPTV services will climb by a whopping 73% over the forecast period to reach 15.8mn, accounting for 11.5% of all TV households. IPTV revenues are expected to increase by a slightly higher rate to reach US$ 7.6bn by 2017.

The report looks at the progress of all pay-TV platforms between now and 2017 and concludes that Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is being forced down as cable operators and telcos convert their subscribers to dual-play or triple-play bundles – although blended (overall) ARPU is rising.

Report author Simon Murray said: “Pay-TV penetration has almost reached saturation point in Canada and the US, so pay-TV operators continue to fight between themselves (mainly to capture analogue cable subs) for new subscribers.”

Despite no movement in the penetration figure, the number of pay-TV subscribers is forecast to climb by 9mn between 2011 and 2017 to reach 120mn. Penetration of digital services meanwhile is estimated at 86% at the end of 2011, and looks set to reach 100% by 2016.

DTH is expected to become the largest pay-TV platform earner in 2017 with revenues of US$ 40.7bn, overtaking cable (US$ 40bn). DTH revenues are predicted to climb by US$ 3bn between 2011 and 2017, while overall cable revenues look set to fall by nearly US$ 8bn.

The number of pay DTH households is expected to increase by 3mn between 2011 and 2017 to reach 39.8mn. However, DTH penetration will not change too much, settling at 28.9% by 2017.

There will be 65mn cable homes (all digital) by 2017, similar to the 2011 figure (of which 13mn were analogue), according to the report. Cable penetration will be 47.1% by 2017, down from 50.3% at end-2011.

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