Recent forecasts from Alcatel-Lucent show that IPTV subscriptions are set to reach between 70 million and 100 million by 2010. In fact, at the end of 2006 IPTV subscriptions totalled 2.2 million - double the number in 2005 - according to a report from market research company InfoCom, writes Fergal Ringrose.
"Alcatel-Lucent is forecasting very high, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that, yes, the market is growing, and fast," commented Simon Woodward, CEO of ANT Software, a supplier of software and services to the digital TV industry. "There's been continuous hype over subscriber numbers over the past few years and expectations have been high, but today the technology has reached maturity. Operators who were the first to innovate in IPTV are starting to see the benefits from their early investments as they compete with their triple and quadruple play offerings.
"Europe outstrips the rest of the world in the uptake of IPTV, and particular hot spots are France, Spain and Italy. For example, France Telecom is spearheading change with its successful mass-market deployment. In the past, operators were reluctant to invest heavily in IPTV following high profile delays in rolling out new services. However, the industry is now moving beyond that and service providers are generating real revenues and reducing customer churn through IPTV.
"The next round of innovation will be through sophisticated applications aimed at drawing in consumers. It's these applications which can set IPTV apart from other broadcast mediums - whether it's the ability to use messenger-applications whilst watching the football or sharing a pictures and music with friends. There are endless applications which can be enabled through IPTV - only your imagination can hold you back."