According to a recent survey conducted by In-Stat, there are now over 1.2 billion households watching TV on a global basis. Of those households 349 million are cable customers with 106 million of those cable customers being in China and 69 million being in the US.
These numbers are a bit surprising to me. On one hand, I always knew that internationally, there was a much larger television base then in the US, but considering that the global population is around 6.5 billion people, even if you assume that 1.2 billion households represent three people each, it still means that half of the world doesn’t watch TV. I found it a little shocking to see how large of a percentage of the US population watches TV, in comparison to the larger global population.
At the same time, seeing the study also makes me realize how insignificant the US really is when it comes to the number of eyeballs that we are advertising to. Given how much advertisers are willing to pay for a show that might be lucky to pick up 10 million viewers, it makes me wonder if there is a premium on the advertisments shown on China’s TV programs. Given the larger population base, I would expect that marketers would be willing to pay quite a bit more, but given the currency differences, in reality this may not be the case.
Anyway you slice it though, 1.2 Billion is a pretty large number. With only 25% of the global population currently subscribing to cable, it’s still quite likely that we’ll see the cable and media companies continue to grow for at least another decade. While the US is a much more mature market for cable, there is still clearly quite a bit of growth left to take place outside of the US. As broadband internet changes the nature of film distribution, it will be interesting to see which players are the winners and losers from a global entertainment perspective.