The year did not start off well for fans of IPTV. Tiscali shut down its IPTV service in its native Italy (news that actually broke in the waning hours of 2008), and was having trouble finding success with its U.K. IPTV venture. Meanwhile, also in the U.K., BT disputed perceptions that its own TV service was suffering for subscribers.
At the same time, telco TV players and other TV service providers worldwide were nervous about the potential effects of a tough recession. The poorly-orchestrated digital TV transition was delayed, another concern for pay TV operators who looked likely to benefit from the conversion.
By the end of the year, things were looking somewhat better. IPTV subscriber growth was slower throughout the year, but telco TV carriers didn't take a direct hit from the recession, as they continued--in the U.S., and for the most part, worldwide--to grow their customer bases and increase TV revenues. Tiscali U.K. found a savior in Carphone Warehouse, BT revised its hopes for BT Vision and AT&T had enough marketing magic left to reach 2 million IPTV subscribers.
Still, another big telco, Qwest Communications, entered the year uninterested in becoming an IPTV provider, and ended the year still uninterested. Through struggles and success, some things never change.
Tiscali shut down its IPTV service in Italy
BT Vision fought criticism last January
Early fears of video cord-cutting subsided
Obama got the DTV transition delay he wanted
BT Vision settled for more modest goals
Carphone Warehouse gave Tiscali U.K. hope
Slower growth didn't stop AT&T from reaching 2 million subscribers
Qwest started the year uninterested in IPTV