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IPTV subscriber numbers to overtake cable in 2026, says Digital TV Research

Global TV households by platform (million)

The number of IPTV subscribers around the world will exceed the number of global cable TV subscribers by 2026, according to UK analysis firm Digital TV Research.

The company predicts IPTV will gain 63 million subscribers between 2021 and 2026, taking the total to 398 million. Cable, on the other hand, will see subscriber numbers fall from 417 million in 2021 to 389 million in 2026.

The main reason for the shift is China, which Digital TV Research expects will add 19 million IPTV subscribers between 2021 and 2026 to reach 226 million, leaving only 172 million for the rest of the world. China will lose 39 million cable TV subscribers in the five years, meanwhile, to end 2026 at 89 million.

Elsewhere, pay TV subscribers will rise globally by 13 million, from one billion in 2021 to 1.01 billion in 2026, the analysis firm said.

China will continue to supply nearly a third of the world’s pay TV subscribers, with 315 million expected by the end of 2026. India will bring in another 178 million, meaning both China and India will together provide half the world’s pay TV subscribers by 2026, Digital TV Research said.

Additionally, free DTT customer numbers globally are expected to increase to 522 million in 2026 from 418 million in 2021, while the number of free satellite customers will rise to 260 million from 230 million. The number of pay satellite viewers, however, will decrease to 203 million from 207 million.


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