Forrester report sees slow going for European IPTV operators

While 11 Western European incumbent telcos have launched IPTV services, Forrester Research’s 17-country IPTV revenue model reveals low consumer interest and only moderate revenue potential.

After a slow ramp-up, Forrester predicts in its new “Making Broadband Triple Play Profitable: IPTV Revenues” report that one in four European xDSL/fiber broadband subscribers will have IPTV within 10 years. This average, however, masks a big gap between the UK, where the researcher expects 13 percent penetration, and France, where it forecasts 33 percent IPTV penetration in year 10.

According to Forrester, more than half of Europe’s incumbent telcos have launched IPTV service, but the European IPTV landscape looks very diverse and immature.

BT, Deutsche Telekom (DT), France Télécom (FT), Telecom Italia and Telefónica are among the incumbents in Western Europe that have launched IPTV. Portugal Telecom is likely to launch within the next six months.

According to Forrester, incumbents don't have many IPTV subscribers yet. Only three of the incumbents with live IPTV services have published any subscriber numbers. At the end of June 2006, Belgacom, FT and Telefónica had only achieved 1.7 percent, 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent IPTV household penetration, respectively. Telefónica has been the most successful in tapping into its retail broadband subscriber base, with 8.3 percent IPTV penetration among broadband customers.

Forrester also reports that incumbents have published modest IPTV subscriber targets. Only seven incumbents have gone public with any IPTV subscriber targets. The telco with the most ambitious public target is probably KPN, which wants to capture 10 percent of Dutch TV households "within several years." Starting from basically no customers now, DT in Germany wants to get to 1 million IPTV subscribers — 2.5 percent of German households — by the end of 2007.

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