However, the Digital TV Research study claims that subscription and VOD revenues for these 400 operators will remain flat at US$206 billion.
According to the report, the top 400 operators – which own 585 platforms across 100 countries – accounted for 84% of the 928 million global pay TV subscribers by end-2015. This is tipped to increase slightly to 85% of the 1.076 billion total pay TV subscribers by 2021.
Only 93 of the 400 operators (23%) will lose subscribers between 2015 and 2021, according to the research, but 115 (29%) will lose subscription and pay per-view revenues.
While the top 400 operators accounted for 83% of global pay TV revenues in 2015, this proportion is expected to fall slightly to 80% by 2021.
“By end-2015, 12 operators had more than 10 million paying subscribers, and this will climb to 18 operators by 2021. However, the number of operators with more than five million subscribers will stay at 29,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research.
The research claims that the top 10 operators accounted for 42% of the world’s pay TV subscribers by the end of 2015 and predicts that this will remain roughly static at 41% in 2021.
Cable operator China Radio and TV and IPTV provider China Telecom were the world’s number one and two pay TV operators respectively by subscriber numbers in 2015 and are expected to remain so in 2021.
US operators Comcast and DirectTV are both expected to retain spots in the top five, though Charter is expected to drop out by 2021 as BesTV, another Chinese operator, moves into third place.