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IPTV growth accelerates

IPTV worldwide growth is accelerating in raw numbers, putting on 3.68 million over the last quarter of 2011 to reach 58.2 million by the year end – a 6.3-percent jump.

The figures compiled by industry analyst group Point Topic in a report for the Broadband Forum revealed that China has just overtaken France, but that Europe as a whole remains the world’s dominant region for IPTV, with 42.72 percent of the global market.

China is now the fastest growing market for IPTV subscribers, passing the 12 million mark.

“China will continue to dominate the top of the charts from now on,” said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic. “This is a market with greater headroom, more demand, and overall more potential than anywhere else."

But, Johnson also singled out Russia as a leading performer in 2011, doubling its IPTV subscribers from 495,500 to 1,145,000 over 2011 on the back of a 36-percent rise in broadband subscriber numbers. This was enough to leap over South Korea and then just edge ahead of the UK to sixth place in the world league.

Yet, the performance of the rest of Europe including France was in some ways the most impressive given its relative saturation. The number of European net IPTV additional in the Q4 2011 was the highest for three years, and it is now the most successful region for upselling services to customers to boost ARPU, according to Point Topic.

The survey also teased out the conditions conducive for IPTV growth. Availability of sufficient bandwidth is an underlying requirement, but insufficient on its own. Pricing has to be right and the service also has to be competitive with satellite and cable for availability of premium content and Quality of Experience. The extent of competition from satellite and cable, and the relative power of operators in the respective sectors, are also key factors.