For now, pay TV seems to be on. There are more pay TV homes in the world than over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms such as online video-on-demand subscriptions.
But globally it is so; Break it down by country and a different picture emerges. For example, in the United States, 81 percent of households have at least one OTT subscription; 51% have pay TV. A report on The Future of Pay TV and Streaming Video by Maria Rua Aguete, senior research director, media and entertainment at UK-based Omedia, says the ratio will continue to change in favor of online.
“The crossover from pay TV to SVOD (streaming video-on-demand) happened in 2020. But it’s not necessarily about the decline of pay TV. Some technologies within pay TV, such as cable, are in decline. IPTV, on the other hand, is growing,” says Tony Gunnarsson, principal analyst TV, video and advertising, Omdia.
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IPTV, or Internet Protocol television, is video delivered over a closed proprietary network, such as a LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network). This is different from OTT in that OTT is delivered over the open internet.
Gunnarson points to mixed trends in pay TV around the world: rising in South Korea, Indonesia and France while sharply declining in the US, India and Brazil. Interest in bundles offering high-end cable channels along with OTT and Internet access is driving growth and consumption. Just like in the US, pay TV as a standalone idea is also in decline in the UK.
“As a European, when I think of broadcast media, I think of public service broadcasters such as the BBC (UK) or NRK (Norway). Most public service broadcasters have already successfully transitioned The future-proofing of broadcasts is happening through iPlayer (the BBC’s digital offering) and it’s not in competition with Netflix or Sky. They’re doing what they do best, investing in local content. Therefore, broadcast TV will continue through adoption of new methods,” says Gunnarasan.