Global IPTV subscriptions reach 60M in 2011, ARPU pops 2%

Global IPTV subscriptions approached 60 million by the end of 2011, pushed by a fourth quarter that saw the largest subscriber increase ever, according to new research from Point Topic.

The U.K.-based company said a strong economic rebound and improving delivery technology made expanding IPTV footprints easier for operators, but added that the increasing ARPU service providers were seeing made it more appealing.

"The year end is often the strong quarter but in combination with the global recovery in consumer spending and the will and technical ability to deliver a service, IPTV is really starting to find the sweet spot," Topic Point CEO Oliver Johnson said. "In addition we've seen a growth in the Average Revenue per User (ARPU) the operators have managed to generate."

Point Topic, in its Internet Video and Voice service report, contends that the "stickiness" of IPTV, and its increasing potential as a revenue source, makes it an important play for operators.

"Globally ARPU increased by just under 2 percent in the year, total revenues were up over 30 percent and with the continued subscriber growth it looks like a very strong positive set of indicators," Johnson said. "It is an extremely competitive market however. The technical path to deployment is well trodden but in combination with high equipment and content costs, and the increasing competition in the market IPTV is not a ‘slam dunk' for operators."

Johnson said with margins from bare-bones broadband shrinking, the future for operators is in value added services.

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