Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

IPTV Subscriber Growth in Europe will Treble by 2020

As broadband subscriptions continue to grow in the European Union (EU) countries, Point Topic has forecast that related pay-TV adoption is set to treble by 2020.

“We’re projecting just over 160 million broadband subscribers in the EU27 by 2020 -- and just over one in three will take an IPTV subscription,” says Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic.

According to their latest market assessment, IPTV adoption in Europe has been very different in countries where it is deployed. The success of IPTV depends primarily on two factors. Firstly is it available, not only the physical network but at a price the consumer can afford? Where the cost and the link are suitable, is there demand for IPTV -- as seen in France?

However, in many markets not only are cost and availability significant barriers but the incumbent pay-TV service providers are well entrenched. Many of the European markets, particularly in the East, have developed their own multichannel TV delivery systems over cable networks.

Often small, local and sometimes non-profit organizations serve a particular community. While they do not have the same reach as the larger players, they are proving to have a loyal subscriber base. IPTV service providers and ISPs are therefore trying to tackle these market entry barriers.

Sometimes a broadband subscription will actually be priced higher than a service bundled with IPTV, a classic tactic to try and gain pay-TV market share. European IPTV providers are all looking at consolidation, as they attempt to gain subscriber share in a market.

The success of IPTV in France, compared to other countries in Europe and worldwide, can’t be attributed to a single reason. A number of conditions exist which has made the diffusion of IPTV throughout the market much easier and quicker. But the main driver has clearly been significant competition.

France, with Free Internet as a good example, has much clearer and more transparent tariffs for IPTV and that has not only earned the consumers trust, but allowed them to align the value they derive from the services with the amount that they pay.

Often the price isn’t obvious for each bundle constituent, and there are a number of reasons for this, but the end result is that the consumer resists purchase far more than they might if they felt they had better information.

“We estimate that a consumer will pay $66 per month on average today for a broadband plus IPTV service. If we split out the broadband charge we get revenues today of just over $5.3 billion a year for IPTV services rising to 14.8 billion in 2020 in the EU27 countries,” says Johnson.

However, the entrance of Google and Apple into the internet TV market could be a game changer, according to Johnson's assessment. Along with services like Netflix, Hulu and offerings from other over-the-top (OTT) streaming video service providers, we'll likely see a significant increase in competition and lower prices.