Informa: Freeview upgraders key to UK’s IPTV growth

UK telcos will need to target free-to-air TV households looking to replace their Freeview equipment if they are to build a substantial pay-TV customer base, according to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News).

Pointing to the success enjoyed by those French telcos that have bundled a high-end set-top box into a low-cost bundle, the report suggests that a significant proportion of the country’s future pay-TV growth will rely on an emerging type of customer: one who pays a low monthly fee for TV services via either a telco-offered triple-play bundle or over-the-top VOD subscription.

Informa believes that there are around 12mn UK households currently using Freeview as their primary mode of reception, and predicts that many of those homes persuaded to take a new pay-TV package in the coming years will order a YouView-based package from BT or TalkTalk.

However, the runaway success achieved by telcos in France (where 4mn homes take IPTV as their primary TV service) is not expected to translate to the UK, due primarily to the fact that BSkyB owns its own broadband provider, which makes competing in the triple-play market far more challenging.

There are also certain issues with the YouView platform that need addressing urgently, such as BT’s inability to offer any premium channels to its YouView customers, and the lack of IP-channel-recording capability and multi-screen provision.

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