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According to a study conducted by Digital TV Research that surveyed 502 operators with 732 platforms (134 digital cable, 118 analogue cable, 283 satellite, 140 IPTV and 57 DTT) across 135 countries, the pay-TV operators are estimated to increase their subscribers’ base and consequently grow their revenues. The gains will primarily come from operators outside the world’s top tier of pay-TV providers.

By the end of 2019, the top 50 operators made 46% of the world’s pay-TV subscribers.

However, the top 10 pay-TV operators are expected to lose subscribers over the next five years, and the following 40 operators will remain flat. Operators beyond these positions are set to gain subscribers, according to Digital TV Research. As per the report, there are currently only 13 operators with more than 10 million subscribers, and it is expected that additional operator will join the team, making for 14 operators with above 10 million subscribers by the end of 2025. 

The report predicts that despite the industry trend towards cord-cutting in developed markets, eight operators are expected to gain more than 1 million subscribers between 2019 and 2025. China Unicom is expected to win the most subscribers with a gain of 19.96 million, followed by China Telecom with 18.52 million new subscribers.

By end-2019, 13 operators had more than 10 million paying subscribers. This will reach 14 operators by 2025".

Simon Murray, the principal analyst at Digital TV Research

In parallel, it is predicted that eight operators will lose above 1 million subscribers in the same time period, led by China Radio and TV with a subscribers’ loss of 37 million. The other operators to lose subscribers will be from the United States.

Murray continued: 

China Radio and TV is the world's largest pay-TV operator by a long, long way. It had 185 million subs by end-2018 [18% of the global total] – as much as the next four operators combined. However, China Radio and TV will lose 25 million subscribers between 2018 and 2024, mainly to IPTV (faster broadband) and OTT (more content choice).

Simon Murray, the principal analyst at Digital TV Research

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