Fibre boom to catalyse flagging telco TV growth

A new report from Ovum predicts that subscriber take-up of telco TV services worldwide will continue to grow steadily over the next five years, but start to slow as broadband penetration starts to saturate.

However, towards the end of the forecast period, the company predicts that there will be an "upturn in fortunes" in some markets as operators look to alternative delivery platforms and the increasing rollout of Fibre-to-the-X networks helps operators push a more differentiated product. The penetration of TV over FTTx networks is expected to be "substantially higher" than DSL-based implementations, where reliability, availability and quality of service/experience remain "major deterrents". As deployments of next-generation networks proliferate, bundling a high-quality TV services with super-fast broadband and cheap voice packages will be a "no-brainer" for many consumers, according to the report.

By 2014, Ovum expects that telco TV subscriptions worldwide will equate to around 15% of total consumer broadband connections, compared to just 5% in 2008, although substantial disparities in local market conditions will mean that penetration rates will vary widely at both the regional and country level. Operators in countries such as China and Japan initially rolled out FTTx networks primarily to provide high-speed broadband, meaning that telco TV services will be slower to take root, while telco TV adoption in the US is ramping up quickly for operators such as AT&T and Verizon, which are building out their FTTx infrastructure with TV specifically in mind.

However, not all telco TV services will be delivered over broadband by 2014, according to the report, with increasing numbers of operators embarking on hybrid implementations that deliver linear channels over DTT, with video-on-demand delivered via IP - such as in France, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain and the UK. Another strategy which is gaining popularity with operators is multi-platform deployment, whereby an operator offers TV services over whatever technology suits local or current market conditions - whether that be IPTV, DTT, satellite or a combination of the three.