According to the latest market study by Informa Telecoms & Media, the IPTV market continues to expand with global IPTV subscriptions reaching 29.7 million at the end of 2009, up from 19.4 million a year earlier.
In particular, IPTV has started to win significant share in several emerging markets and has made inroads into some developed mid-sized ones -- albeit at a very slow pace.
The number of quarterly net new subscriptions, or net additions, for broadband-based TV services from telecoms operators and ISPs reached a record high of 3.2 million in the last three months of last year. But just four countries accounted for nearly two-thirds of all IPTV subscriptions -- France, the U.S., China and South Korea.
"IPTV still has a long way to go. The technology had only 5 percent of the multichannel pay-TV market and less than 2 percent penetration of the world's households, despite services being available in over 50 countries. In many markets, services have simply struggled to make progress against cable, satellite and terrestrial TV competition," says Rob Gallagher, Principal Analyst at Informa.
But the potential for delivering broadband-based services to the TV should not be underestimated.
Despite the low number of success stories for conventional IPTV, the underlying technology is increasingly being embraced by cable, satellite and terrestrial TV providers as well as Internet firms, media groups and consumer electronics manufacturers.
IPTV has gained significant share in markets where one or more competing forms of multichannel TV are absent or weak, such as Iceland (81.0%), Qatar (80.0%), Cyprus (67.0%), Slovenia (35.0%), Croatia (25.0%), Estonia (25.0%), Montenegro (23.5%) and Greece (23.5%).
Services also began to take the majority of net additions in some more competitive mid-sized markets in 2009, including Switzerland, Belgium, Singapore and Portugal.