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Applications and Digital Media Driving Growth

The market analysts at iSuppli have apparently been busy pulling together their end-of-year assessment, and here's the outcome. Now that the broadband era is upon us, the technology and telecommunications industries are shifting their focus beyond access, to content. Frankly, it's about time.

"Over the last three years, broadband has become ubiquitous, both in the wired and wireless worlds," said Mark Kirstein,vice president of multimedia content and services at iSuppli Corp. "Worldwide broadband subscribers have reached 248 million, while the number of 3G wireless subscribers passed 1 billion at the end of 2006. The electronics industry now is turning its attention to delivering the high-value applications and content that will capitalize on these fast access networks."

The implications of this are huge, as virtually all technology markets are being driven by media distribution in an underlying fashion. Examples include:

- Portable Media Player (PMP/MP3) shipments will grow by more than 30 percent in 2006, jumping well beyond 160 million units.

- Music-player enabled mobile phones now are driving competitive positioning in the wireless handset market. Music phone shipments will exceed 300 million units in 2006. Full track music delivered to these handsets will drive the mobile music market across all categories to more than $15 billion by 2010.

- The ranks of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) subscribers grew dramatically in 2006. However, the real excitement is just beginning, as subscribers rise to more than 65 million by2010. The growth of IPTV will contribute to a telecom operator revenue stream of about $18 billion by 2009. At the other end of the value chain, sales of semiconductors for IPTV across all categories will grow to $7.8 billion by 2009.

- Mobile video is on the verge of moving beyond the early development stage and will undergo wide deployment during the next two years. By 2010, iSuppli expects mobile video will attract more than 100 million subscribers. By 2010, more than 300 million handsets will ship with mobile TV chips.

- Media home networking is creeping into a growing number of homes, as a variety of consumer electronics devices adopt Internet connections. Across the combined markets for video game consoles, set-top boxes, DVD players and televisions, iSuppli projects more than 180 million Internet-enabled consumer devices will ship in 2010.

- The number of digital pay television subscribers is expanding rapidly throughout the world. Direct-to-home satellite TV services are finding new markets in Asia -- particularly China and India. Cable television subscribers are continuing a migration to digital technology, while IPTV is debuting worldwide. Collectively, the number of digital pay TV subscribers will grow to nearly 276 million by 2010 (not including mobile TV), providing new platforms for interactive TV services and Video on Demand (VoD).

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