Over-the-top TV viewers to exceed IPTV viewers in 2013, says Informa

Over-the-top TV viewers will outnumber IPTV viewers by 2013, propelled by consumers warming up to the idea of using Internet-connected devices to access video content, the availability of brands like BBC iPlayer and Netflix, and marketing efforts by device makers, according to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media.

The report, Congestion Up Ahead? Internet traffic and service forecasts, 2010-2015, forecasts that by 2015 some 380 million people around the world will watch online video using a connected device like a TV, game console or set-top box.

The figure is more than twice as big as the 163 million IPTV subscribers Informa forecasts for 2015. “It’s abundantly clear that viewing online video via connected devices will be both a long-term and mass-market activity,” said Giles Cottle, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media and lead author of the Internet traffic and services research.

In some parts of the world, the difference between the two will be even greater. For example, in the U.K. the number of OTT viewers already exceeds the number of IPTV viewers. By 2015, the number of U.K. IPTV viewers will fall to 3.6 million while 27 million will watch online video, Informa said.

Even with such imbalances, the figures aren’t necessarily bad news for IPTV operators, according to Informa. “Many OTT TV viewers will be using connected devices to watch short-form and catch-up TV services, which are complementary, rather than competitive, to pay TV. But it highlights the fact that operators should be adding these features into their own services, or even considering delivering their own pay TV services via these connected devices, to stay competitive,” said Cottle.