According to Digital TV Research, the Pay-TV subscriptions for 522 operators reached 839 million in 2016, or 87 percent of the 959 million global subscribers.
According to the Global Pay TV Operator Databook, the top 50 pay-TV operators accounted for two-thirds of the world’s pay-TV subscribers by end-2016. At that time, 15 operators had more than 10 million paying subscribers. China Radio & TV is the world’s largest pay-TV operator by quite some distance, with 227 million subs by end-2016—more than the next 11 operators combined. China Telecom ranks second, followed by BesTV in China. AT&T and Comcast in the U.S. round out the top five.
Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “China’s and India’s dominance of the top pay-TV operator rankings is increasing, partly as their subs bases climb but also due to U.S. operators losing subscribers.”
Subscription and PPV revenues for the 522 operators were $185 billion in 2016. From the total, 30 pay-TV operators earned more than $1 billion in revenues in 2016. With low ARPUs and despite high subscriber numbers, Asia Pacific’s top operators are much less prominent in the subscription and PPV revenue rankings. This is where the U.S. companies are quite strong, with six of the top ten in 2016.