If forecasts issued by market research firm In-Stat prove correct, the global media market can look forward to a threefold increase in Internet protocol television (IPTV) subscriptions over the next three years. Issued this week, the In-Stat study (which focuses on television services delivered by phone service providers) predicts that rapid growth in IPTV services will continue and that total worldwide subscriptions will reach 71.6 million by the end of 2012 in spite of current economic conditions. While Verizon’s FiOS and AT&T’s U-Verse services dominate the U.S. IPTV market, major international telcos such as France Telecom, Telefonica, Deutsche Telecom and China Telecom are planning or offering IPTV services of their own. Citing the termination of regulatory restrictions that have prevented incumbent phone companies from entering the video services market, In-Stat notes that “a number of new countries, including places as varied of Montenegro, Jordan and Ghana, saw the launch of their first commercial IPTV offerings in 2008.” Similar regulatory changes are expected to usher in IPTV in markets such as India, Brazil and South Korea over the next few years. According to In-Stat analyst Michelle Abraham, “only a few markets, like Japan and Argentina, remain hamstrung by restrictions that hinder incumbent operators.” In-Stat also predicts that worldwide IPTV subscription revenues will swell to US $26.6 billion by 2012 and that IPTV services will be featured increasingly in convergence applications that give customers the ability to control set-top boxes from personal computers and wireless devices.
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