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April 10, 2007

IPTV Rise Triggers Battle for Triple-Play Services

By Spencer D. Chin, TMCnet Web Editor

The ramp-up of the Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) market has in turn triggered a race to deliver triple-play services including bundled voice, Internet and entertainment services, according to market research by iSuppli Corp.
The firm projects global IPTV (News - Alert) subscribers will rise to 103 million in 2011, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 92.5 percent, up from 3.9 million in 2006, This translates to $39.1 billion in revenue, up by a factor of more than 40 from $960.5 million in 2006.
“IPTV promises to add interactivity, personalization, integration of voice and data and value-added services to television entertainment,” said Frank Dickson, principal analyst for multimedia content services at iSuppli, in a statement. “Because of the wide variety of services offered by the technology, companies from various industries are being drawn into the IPTV/triple-play fight, sparking intensified competition among market participants.”
According to the report, the North American IPTV battle lines have been drawn between the cable television companies and the telecommunications providers. The cable companies offer a significant installed base of pay television subscribers and fast data rates using their cable-modem technology as they expand into data and voice communications.
Telecommunications providers, who view the cable companies’ move into voice as an unwanted intrusion, have responded by rolling out broadband-based IPTV services offering higher data transfer rates.
The report noted that satellite TV companies could also turn the tide in triple-play services, with DirecTV (News - Alert) and Echostar emphasizing HD  programming and the offering of unique content to attract consumers looking for alternatives.
In addition, the report said the proliferation of digital video recorders is impacting the move to time-shifting, interactivity and user-generated content. It is causing broadcasters to develop programs to encourage real time viewing and encourage interactivity via voting, for instance.
Ultimately, interactive and value-added services delivered via IPTV will narrow the divide between traditional TV broadcast programming and interactive broadband media experiences, iSuppli said.
Spencer Chin is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
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