Digital TV to Top 165 Million Homes

A new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor expects digital TV services to reach around 165 million homes in Western Europe and the US by 2012. Further, with consumers able to access broadcast video content via a variety of methods including cable, satellite, Internet protocol TV (IPTV), digital terrestrial TV (DTT), online video aggregators and mobile broadcast TV, service operators are up against massive competition.

The new report, "European and US digital TV, 2006 – 2012," says innovation through digital service provision will be a crucial factor for survival. The likes of Apple TV, Joost and YouTube are shifting the competitive dynamics of the sector and providing consumers with multiple service offerings to create a unified entertainment and communications experience will prove a key differentiator, according to the report.

"As the sector transforms, service operators and broadcasters are searching for multiple strategies to ensure that their offerings are kept attractive to consumers," says Chris Khouri, media and broadcasting analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report.

"Primary strategies are found through bundling alternative communications services (including voice and data) to traditional TV services. Triple and quadruple play services, from operators like BSkyB, Canal Digital and Verizon, are becoming a must to survive in the market and are helping to promote an increasingly competitive sector. Further, these offerings are expected to aide in the significant growth of digital TV services over the next few years."

According to Datamonitor estimates there are around 105 million households subscribing to satellite, cable and IPTV services in the US and Western Europe. By 2012, Datamonitor estimates there will be circa 77.7 million satellite households in both regions. Digital cable is expected to show significant growth particularly as analogue cable is switched to digital services.

By 2012 there will be an estimated 69 million digital cable households, an average annual increase of 8.4% from 2006. One of the most recent entrants into the pay-TV arena, IPTV, is expected to illustrate the largest growth. By 2012 it will be present in an estimated 19.3 million households — a compound annual growth rate of 41.8% from 2006.