News      |      Events

On UN World TV Day ITU reveals ‘massive shift to digital’

On the occasion of UN World Television Day, ITU research shows that the world has witnessed a massive shift from analogue to digital television, with more than 55 per cent of households with a TV now receiving a digital signal compared with just 30 per cent in 2008.

ITU’s Measuring the Information Society 2013 report shows that, globally, the halfway mark for digital penetration was passed in 2012. In the developed world, an estimated 81 per cent of total households with a TV now receive a digital signal. But the digital switchover is also moving forward apace in the developing world, where the number of households receiving digital TV almost tripled in the four-year period from 2008 to end 2012, reaching 42 per cent.

The new report notes that traditional multichannel TV platforms, such as cable and direct-to-home (DTH) satellite, are facing increasing competition from IPTV service providers and even digital terrestrial TV (DTT) channels.

At the same time, TV delivery over the Internet is becoming increasingly popular, particularly through over-the-top (OTT) audio-visual content providers such as YouTube, Netflix and China’s PPLive service, as well as the many traditional broadcasting stations that now offer online streaming or downloading of TV and video content.

The steady decline in analogue TV technologies is being counterbalanced by strong growth of digital technologies. Digital cable subscriptions worldwide more than doubled between 2008 and 2012, as did the number of households receiving DTT.

“New technologies are creating a plethora of new platforms for content sharing, which in turn is making television much more accessible over a wide range of devices,” said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General, ITU. “This is very important in the developing world, where TV continues to play an important role in education and knowledge sharing.”

ITU’s Measuring the Information Society report, released every year, is the world’s most comprehensive snapshot of global ICT trends. It includes ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI), a unique global index that ranks 157 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. The IDI is widely recognized by government, UN agencies and industry as the most accurate measure of overall national ICT development.

An Executive Summary of the Measuring the Information Society 2013 report can be found here.