Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Global IPTV Market Forecasts Still Upbeat

Riding on the wave of high-speed broadband connectivity in leading markets within Asia-Pacific and Europe, plus the evolution of business and user requirements, television is no longer what it used to be.

Trends are showing that interactive bi-directional television is increasing at the expense of legacy TV formats. According to new pay-TV market data from ABI Research, IPTV will grow by an estimated 32 percent annually over the next six years to nearly 79 million subscribers globally by the end of 2014.

Satellite and cable TV are among the oldest and most important pay-TV platforms in many countries, and they are likely to retain their footholds in those markets for a long time. However, their growth rates will slow as IPTV gains momentum.

ABI Research industry analyst Serene Fong observes that, "Some telecom operators which are faced with thinning margins are deploying high-speed access networking technologies to challenge incumbent satellite and cable operators."

They do so by offering compelling alternatives via existing broadband infrastructure, thereby making service subscription easier and more convenient compared to the traditionally more cumbersome and costlier legacy television alternatives.

IPTV usage should be robust as prices of high-speed broadband fall, in line with the competitive Asia-Pacific and European markets, and more users start adopting multimedia services.

According to Fong, "Usage will initially be concentrated in countries with established high-speed Internet technologies such as France, the Netherlands, South Korea and Hong Kong. But as technology progresses and matures, developing countries such as China will rapidly catch up in subscription numbers."

In fact, China already has more broadband subscribers than the United States.

Operators will continue rolling out IPTV as part of their multi-play strategies, and the right set of technology deployment and consumer-friendly price plans will become increasingly vital.

However, Fong cautions that, "While we expect to see greater momentum in the telco TV segment in the years to come, this new television alternative is unlikely to completely replace legacy pay television services immediately."