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DigitalTVResearch-Top-10-Pay-TV-Countries-by-Penetration-end-of-2012-July2013Global pay-TV revenues climbed to $184 billion last year, representing 28.5% growth over the 5-year period beginning in 2008, according to [pdf] a recent report from Digital TV Research covering activity in 97 countries. The number of pay-TV households (analog and household) grew to 772 million from 585 million, with the Asia-Pacific region contributing 126 million households to that increase. By the end of 2012, the US had 100.2 million pay-TV households, according to the report, representing 86% penetration.

That was virtually tied with Switzerland and Canada, but behind others in the top 10, including Netherlands (100% penetration), Denmark (97%), Belgium (96%, Hong Kong (also 96%), Norway (95%) and South Korea (also 95%). Still, the figures are high for a country of the US’ size: the only other countries topping 100 million pay-TV households, India (116.7 million) and China (232.8 million) did not crack the top 10 list for penetration.

The 86% penetration figure for the US appears to be a higher estimate than one recently issued by GfK, though. That study found that almost 1 in 5 TV homes are broadcast-only. While GfK’s numbers may be slightly off, the direction of that figure is most important: it’s rising.

Meanwhile, although North America was the second-largest region in terms of pay-TV households (112 million), the number of households grew by only 4% over the 5-year period analyzed, per the Digital TV Research study. Still, North America generated about half of total pay-TV revenues around the world last year.

Other Findings:

  • Among the 97 countries analyzed in the researchers’ “Digital TV World Databook,” 404 million digital TV homes were added from 2008 to 2012.
  • Digital TV penetration among TV households has now grown from 28.6% at the end of 2008 to 54.7% at the end of 2012.
  • The number of analog TV households has fallen from 956 million at the end of 2008 to 652 million at the end of last year.
  • 100 million new TV households came on board during the 5-year period, such that there were 1.44 billion TV households by the end of 2012.

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