Over Half of TV Viewing is Now Digital


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The UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today released a report showing that over half of all TV broadcasts are now digital. More specifically, over 55% of households with a TV worldwide receive digital programming, rather than traditional analogue signals. The ITU interprets these findings to mean that the tipping point for digital broadcasting was reached as some point during 2012.

These statistics won't be surprising for the developed world, where the ITU estimates over 80% of households with a TV receive digital programming. The developing world, however, is driving the switch to digital more than ever. The ITU report shows that 42% of households with TVs in developing countries now receive digital broadcasts - a nearly 300% increase between 2008 and 2012.

“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 Hamadoun Touré, secretary-general of the ITU. “This is very important in the developing world, where TV continues to play an important role in education and knowledge sharing.

The report also shows that much of the digital programming being watched through TVs is being paid for. The ITU estimates that there were 728 million pay-TV subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2012. This represents a steady increase to 53% of all TV-having households paying for TV, with that statistic set to still grow in the coming years thanks to the millions of new TV-owning households in developing markets.