IPTV sees strong growth but bloody battle ahead

The number of IPTV subscribers worldwide is expected to have almost doubled in 2006 to almost 5 million subscribers.

According to a new report from Informa Telecoms & Media, IPTV – A Global Analysis (2nd Edition), released Tuesday, rapid growth in the user base will result in 36 million IPTV homes by 2011.

Adam Thomas, media research manager at Informa, said he expects much of the growth in 2006 and for the next couple of years to be prompted by service launches by European telcos – especially the incumbents.

“We forecast 4.8 million IPTV households by the end of 2006, nearly double the 2005 figure of 2.5 million,” he said.

But despite this acceleration, only 3.4 per cent of the world’s TV watching households are forecast to subscribe to IPTV platforms by 2011. IPTV operators are forecast a bloody battle for market share against digital cable and Direct to Home satellite (DTH), as well as digital terrestrial television to a lesser extent.

Thomas said that in 2005, IPTV worldwide generated subscriber revenues of less than $1bn. By 2011 this figure is forecast to reach $12.2bn, with $11.3bn coming from subscription revenues and a further near-$1bn from video on demand revenues.

The US is expected to deliver the highest proportion of IPTV revenues in 2011, followed by Japan, France Italy and the UK. But China will lead the world in terms of subscriber numbers with some 11 million plus customers anticipated by 2011.

The US will follow China by a significant gap, with 3.4 million IPTV subscribers by 2011, followed by France with a similar number then Japan and Germany.

France is also anticipated to have a high penetration rate for IPTV, reaching 14.88 per cent of the population by 2011, second only to Hong Kong, which is forecast to have a penetration rate of 37.6 per cent by 2011.

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