The number of households in South Korea who are paying to receive managed IPTV services will reach 6mn some time this week, according to the country’s three IPTV operators.
Local news agency Yonhap states that there were 5.948mn IPTV subscribers in the country as of October 28th, according to figures released by KT, SK Broadband and LG U+, and their industry group the Korea Digital Media Association.
With this total currently growing by around 30-40,000 per week, the milestone is expected to be reached this coming weekend (November 10th-11th). Incumbent telco KT has the largest subscriber total with 3.65mn, followed by 1.29mn for SK Broadband and 1mn for LG U+.
With IPTV services launched in the country in December 2008, and the milestone of 5mn subs passed last April, this represents a much quicker sign-up rate than cable TV, which needed seven years to reach 6mn paying customers (in 2002), and which currently dominates the Korea pay-TV market with around 15mn subs.
South Korea has a well-deserved reputation as a leading innovator for broadband and IPTV technologies: the country has the highest penetration of fibre broadband anywhere in the world, and continues to lead the pack when it comes to new features, such as cloud gaming on IPTV, as unveiled by LG last month.
LG also recently became the first IPTV operator to partner with the Google TV platform, giving its subscribers access to 119 linear channels along with Web-based apps and services such as the Chrome browser, YouTube and Google Play, for a monthly fee of KRW 9,900 (US$ 9).