The number of homes around the world watching internet protocol television (IPTV) services will rise to more than 80m in 2011?but only half will be paying for TV. That's the forecast from Boston research house Strategy Analytics. Its report, Global IPTV Forecast: Homes, Users and Subscribers, says just under 6m households were watching digital TV delivered by an IPTV operator in 2006.
However, of those 6m homes, just 3.3m were directly paying for TV programming, as telcos and internet service providers use the offer of free TV bundled with broadband and telephony to lure new customers and retain existing subscribers. Strategy Analytics expects that 3.3m to rise to 40.9m in 2011.
"An intensely competitive consumer communications market is making deployment of new services, like IPTV, a critical objective for many service providers. But service structure and payment models used to deliver IPTV vary widely by region and service provider," said Strategy Analytics' senior analyst Martin Olausson.
"The traditional pay-TV definition breaks down in an environment in which multiple IP services (broadband, VoIP and IPTV) are paid for by a single fee, and in which a growing share of TV programming will not be paid for via subscriptions." Olausson's colleague, David Mercer, added: "The jury is still out on how much consumers are willing to pay telcos for IPTV. Most telcos will likely offer customers a mix of free, subscription and pay-as-you-go programming models."
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