IPTV Subscribers Up 64 Pct in 2008

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Market analysis firm Gartner says the number of IPTV subscribers—folks who subscribe to video services delivered over the Internet—is on pace to reach a total of 19.6 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2008, which would represent a 64.1 percent increase over 12 million IPTV users in 2007. Gartner also projects that the IPTV market will represent $4.5 billion in business during 2008 (a 93.5 percent increase over 2007) and will climb all the way up to $19 billion by 2012.

The new figures mean, statistically speaking, just over one percent of all households worldwide will subscribe to IPTV services. If Gartner’s projections hold, that figure will reach 2.8 percent in 2012.

“The biggest change since 2007 is the rapid advent of new entrants making inroads in consumer video consumption and placing greater demands on IPTV operators to innovate,” said Gartner research director Elroy Jopling, in a statement. “The video consumption field will become increasingly crowded.”

The new entrants Gartner is referring to are device manufactures like Apple, video rental services like Blockbuster and Netflix, Amazon’s Unbox service, as well as broadcasters and studios taking offerings directly to consumers with programs like the BBC iPlayer, Fox and NBC’s Hulu.com, and even NBC Universal’s recent partnership with Sony. At the same time Gartner notes tremendous regional variation in the IPTV market: western Europe boasts the greatest number of IPTV users (with a total estimated to reach 8.2 million users in 2008), while North America actually represents the largest IPTV market in terms of revenue.

Gartner sees video-oriented Web services like Joost and YouTube making moves in the IPTV arena, along with social networking services like Facebook and MySpace.

For purposes if its report, Gartner defines IPTV as a carrier-managed IP broadband network delivering TV and video content to a set-top box; PC-only services aren’t included.

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