Figures from European broadband suppliers reveal that the total number of broadband TV subscribers is estimated to reach almost 10 million by 2010. This will be a huge increase from the current number of about 650,000 and will give broadband suppliers almost 10% of the total pay-TV market.
Currently France and Italy lead the way in terms of numbers of subscribers to broadband TV services. The concept has taken longer to catch on in the UK, which is largely due to fierce competition from established satellite and cable TV firms. However, broadband itself is very popular in the UK with over 10 million subscribers in 2006, and growing by the minute, suggesting that there is a large untapped market for broadband TV services.
Broadband TV is more accurately known as IPTV (Internet Protocol TV). The acronym is used to describe services which broadcast on-demand television programming to consumers, delivered via a broadband connection on normal telephone line to TV screens. In recent years revenues from traditional fixed-line services have been declining in Europe so telecoms firms are looking to both IPTV and broadband to offset this. Increasingly they are offering customers such services in bundles rather than individually.
While broadband suppliers are using IPTV as a means to challenge established cable and satellite operators, the opposite scenario also exists. Cable and satellite TV operators are beginning to make headway into the broadband market in order to ensure they do not lose their coveted share of the lucrative television market to traditional ISP’s.
In the UK, Sky TV has acquired Easynet, a leading broadband supplier and heavy investor in Local Loop Unbundling (LLU), which signals its intention to broaden its range of services. The enormous company has also launched a film download service which currently provides 200 films for free to digital subscribers.
This is, of course, only the beginning as Sky intends to supply more than 1,000 films via broadband from their extensive back catalogue. Sky Sports subscribers will also be able to download sports clips through their broadband connections.
Peoples’ entertainment needs are changing fast in the 2000’s and audiences expect to be able to access content whenever and wherever they want.
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