Despite a depressed economy, global pay TV markets continue to grow, according to the latest market data from ABI Research from its report "Pay TV Overview."

“Cable will remain the largest pay TV platform, satellite the second-largest and telco TV the smallest (DTT aside), but the latter will show the fastest growth, more than doubling its share by 2014, albeit starting from a much smaller base," said ABI analyst Michael Inouye, in a statement. "Most of the subscribers captured by telco TV will be lured away from cable services.”

The growth of pay TV services is driven by three major factors: the ongoing digital transition and a parallel rise in demand for premium content; new operators and offers; and new features such as interactivity, video on demand (VOD), and personal video recording (PVR).
“Interactivity is a feature mainly found in mature markets,” said Inouye. “It’s a way to try and keep subscribers who have other options. While one might expect advanced services of this kind to spread gradually from these mature markets to developing ones, the relatively low per-subscriber revenue available in some countries like China and India may prove to be a hurdle to the expansion of additional features/services.”

Pay TV market growth is occurring in spite of some opposing factors. Chief among these is the availability of low-cost alternatives and substitutes such as digital terrestrial television (DTT) especially those that pair free-to-air content with broadband content/VOD.

Online content such as that provided by Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, Vudu, and the BBC iPlayer also poses challenges.

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