Subscriber growth in China, Latin America and Eastern Europe will help double the number of IPTV subscribers worldwide to 70 million by 2015, according to a report from IMS Research, which calls IPTV the "platform of the future," and says including over-the-top content has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for pay-TV operators.
The market, which currently stands at 36.5 million, will see a slowing hin growth in Western Europe as that market reaches the saturation point, said John Kendall, an IMS analyst and author of the report, IPTV: A Global Market Analysis.
Kendall said while most of the current growth is in China and Western Europe, only China is expected to see continued strong growth.
"Eastern Europe is a mixed bag," Kendall said. "You have countries like Croatia, Slovakia, and Slovenia where IPTV growth has been rapid, due to significant capital expenditure and robust network infrastructure. Russia has also experienced substantial growth for the platform on a country-wide basis." But, he added, the markets in Romania and Poland, because of poor network infrastructure and competitive pay-TV markets, are much more nascent. Nevertheless, he said he expects the market in Eastern Europe to follow the worldwide trend and double in size by 2015.
Kendall said the Latin America's market is just starting to emerge, and said it has "significant growth potential in the market."
"Regulator recalcitrance is the primary limitation for IPTV in Latin America," Kendall said. "In countries like Colombia, where telcos are permitted in the pay-TV space, the platform has found a very receptive audience."
"Make no mistake," states Kendall, "IPTV is the platform of the future. Over-the-top content is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Cable operators are exploring options to utilize DOCSIS to deliver linear IP video. Satellite operators are deploying hybrid boxes utilizing IP connections for VOD. IP is touching every facet of the pay-TV market, and that influence is only going to spread as the true potential of the technology is realized."
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