India is likely to rank third in the number of IPTV homes globally; service providers, broadcasters gear up
It was the dark horse of the broadcast industry but Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) might finally be finding a foothold in the country. According to a recent study by the UK-based Digital TV Research, India might just enjoy the third place globally in terms of the number of IPTV households. The first and second spots are likely to be bagged by China and the US, respectively.
The study also predicts that globally, the number of homes paying for IPTV will rocket to 165 million by end-2017, up from 51 million at end-2011 and from only 7.5 million at end-2007. The Global IPTV Forecasts report also estimates that China will account for 77 million (47 per cent) of the 2017 total, up from only 14 million (28 per cent) in 2011 and only 350,000 (5 per cent) at end-2007.
Author of the report, Simon Murray says, “Some may be surprised to see the US in second place by 2017 (14.4 million subscribers). US telcos are aggressively marketing their IPTV products, with both Fios and U-Verse appearing in the top 10 pay TV operators.”
Of the 114 million subscribers to be added between 2011 and 2017, 86 million will be from the Asia Pacific region – three-quarters of the new subscribers. India will account for 7.2 million more IPTV subscribers, up from a very low base at end-2011.
Currently, IPTV may not be a strong contender in India, and does not appear to be an area of focus for service providers but even though the sector faces certain inhibitors including regulatory and infrastructure problems, there are a lot of opportunities to satisfy end-users. With large players such as Google and Apple showing keen interest in this industry, one may assume that the sector presents large opportunities for players.
In fact, broadcasters have already sniffed a juicy potential in the reach that some of the global IPTV platforms provide. Star Network recently partnered with Switzerland-based IPTV company Sunrise TV to launch a few of its channels abroad. So this partnership will help in the international distribution of Star’s local channels, Star Plus, Star Gold and Vijay TV abroad.
But the IPTV platforms in India are still facing hurdles. Says, Devendra Parulekar, Partner, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, “The broadband penetration in the country is quite poor and right now the state of the IPTV platform seems quite bleak. The mandatory digitisation laws will only boost the proliferation of STBs, which will aid the growth of TVs becoming digital. And it is only post digitisation, once the seeding of STBs is over, that cable networks will focus on being IP ready.”
The study also reveals that Global IPTV penetration only reached 3.7 per cent of TV households at end-2011, although this was up from 0.6 per cent at end-2007. By end-2017, IPTV penetration will grow to 10.8 per cent. Penetration will remain low in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. However, it will be as high as 14 per cent in the Asia Pacific region by 2017, led by Singapore (43 per cent) and Hong Kong (38 per cent). The UAE (41 per cent) will buck its region’s trend.
IPTV revenues will climb to US $ 21.3 billion in 2017, up from US $ 9.7 billion in 2011 and US $ 1.5 billion in 2007. The US will remain the largest IPTV revenue earner by taking a third of the 2017 total (down from 41 per cent in 2011).
From the US $ 11.6 billion additional revenues to be created between 2011 and 2017, the US will provide US $ 3.0 billion. The Asia-Pacific region will contribute an extra US $ 5.0 billion, led by China (US $ 1.8 billion more) and Japan (US $ 1.6 billion). France will drop from second place in 2011 to fourth in 2017. However, Russia will zoom to fifth place in 2017.