Gartner predicts demand for IPTV in Western European

The number of households subscribing to Television via Internet Protocol (IPTV) services offered by telecom carriers in Western Europe will reach 3.3 million this year, and 16.7 million in 2010, according to forecasts from Gartner.

Despite the robust growth in users, Gartner said that IPTV will struggle over the next five years to become a mainstream revenue opportunity for telecom carriers. Competing against entrenched Pay TV and free-to-air terrestrial TV providers who deliver good quality programming for free, carriers will resort to low-priced services and bundles to drive initial subscriber uptake.

As a result, carriers' IPTV revenue in Western Europe during the period will grow from '336 million (US$430 million) in 2006 to only '3 billion by 2010.

'While the short to medium-term profits from IPTV will be modest at best, carriers cannot afford to delay in the deployment of the IPTV platform,' says Susan Richardson, principal research analyst at Gartner. 'Those who delay too long will risk undermining their ability to be long-term key players in the consumer infotainment communications business. This is because IPTV is not a single service; it is a new distribution platform over which many services can be offered eventually. Investments now have to be seen in the context of seeding the ground for the future.'