Advisory firm ABI Research says don’t count the pay TV market out too soon, because it’s still growing. ABI forecasts the industry will count over 1.1 billion subscribers by 2024.
That’s the opposite of the trend in North America, where over-the-top (OTT) services are enticing customers to cut the cord, and pay TV is losing subs. ABI says cable, satellite, and IPTV services lost 1.2 million subs in the first quarter of 2019 alone.
OTT competition is dependent on high-speed broadband availability, and that area is also growing. ABI says the fixed broadband industry will have over 1 billion subscribers by the end of this year, half of which will be fiber-optic connections. But even though broadband is expanding, pay TV providers will continue to do well in emerging markets. OTT’s disruptive power varies by region, and depends on elements such as price, content, and the reliability of video delivery.
Pay TV providers are fighting back against the competition by introducing lower-cost streaming services into their own platforms. Some, including Airtel and Hathway in India and Telkom Indonesia, are switching to Android-based set-top boxes, which provide pay TV and streaming options in a unified interface.
ABI sees AI as a valuable investment for pay TV providers: “In addition to investment in content and advanced set-top boxes, investment in efficient analytics solutions are important for customer retention,” says Khin Sandi Lynn, an industry analyst with ABI Research. “Analytics solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms can provide comprehensive insights on content consumption, prediction of churn, etc., which is valuable for content recommendation, improving user interface, and proposing best-fit packages to customers to prevent or reduce subscriber loss.”
This data comes from ABI’s Pay TV Subscriber market data report, available for purchase.