The global pay TV market is expected to generate USD 313 billion in service revenues by 2020, according to a report by ABI Research. The worldwide pay TV market grew 4 percent last year to reach 923.5 million subscribers. Pay TV service revenues did not grow as strongly, pulled down by weak currency exchange rates resulted in a slower increase of pay TV market service revenue. Worldwide, the pay TV market generated USD 257 billion in 2014 and is expected to surpass 1.1 billion subscribers in 2020 with a CAGR of 2.7 percent.

Cable and terrestrial TV markets had weaker growth rates compared to satellite and IPTV platforms. However, high definition (HD) penetration is increasing across all pay TV platforms because of the increasing number of HD channels added by operators. In the year, 44 percent of the worldwide pay TV subscriber base were HD subscribers, with the highest HD penetration in Western Europe and North America. HD penetration is expected to reach 60 percent of the total pay TV market in 2020.

Meanwhile, pay TV operators are now moving towards 4K or Ultra HD service, led by US satellite operator DirecTV. Online video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon have also started offering 4K content. When content availability and 4K TV set adoption increase, 4K services will likely become a differentiator for pay TV service providers.

In the fourth quarter, US cable operators lost roughly 100,000 subscribers while Comcast gained 7,000 subscribers. The country’s largest satellite TV provider, DirecTV, gained 149,000 subscribers, the highest net addition since 2012.