Geneva – On the occasion of UN World Television Day, research from the International Telecommunication Union shows that the world has witnessed a massive shift from analogue to digital television, with over 55 percent of households with a TV now receiving a digital signal compared with just 30 percent in 2008.

In the developed world, an estimated 81 percent 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 percent.

The number of pay-TV subscriptions worldwide increased by 32 percent between 2008 and 2012, overtaking free-to-air TV in 2011. There were a total of 728 million pay-TV subscriptions by end 2012, meaning that 53 percent of all households with a television had a pay-TV subscription.

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 more than doubled between 2008 and 2012, as did the number of households receiving DTT.