South Korea’s SK Broadband added 40,988 subscribers to its IPTV service in June of this year to reach a total of 1.19mn.
The company also saw growth for its broadband subscriber base, adding 21,124 customers last month to reach a total of 4.3mn, while its telephony customers had reached 4.42mn by the end of June.
SK Broadband (called Hanaro Telecom until September 2008) launched its IPTV service in 2006, offering only video-on-demand titles to begin with, until the government introduced new legislation in 2008 which allowed the country’s telcos to provide broadcast services as well.
Since then, Korea’s IPTV market has flourished, with the three main providers (SK Broadband, KT and LG U+) holding a combined total of 3.4mn subscribers by the end of June 2011, according to research from Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News).
However, these IPTV operators are currently hindered by lack of access to Korea’s leading cable channels, as well as some key content from the terrestrial networks, including crucial sports and local news channels, which is forcing down average revenue per user (ARPU).
As a result, even the leading IPTV provider KT accounted for only 1.9mn of the country’s 16.3mn pay-TV subscribers by the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, Korea’s cable operators (which number over 100) serve around 15mn subscribers, although many of these households pay very small fees to receive just a few channels.