Bundled services provision has become one of the most successful ways to prevent customers from churning in telecoms world in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). One of their main components is often IPTV. Although the IPTV market is in the early stage of development, changes in media consumption are likely to ensure the market stable growth.
New analysis from research firm Frost & Sullivan, – Analysis of the IPTV Markets in Central and Eastern Europe – finds that the market earned revenues of €90 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach €270 million in 2017.
“IPTV growth in CEE will be relatively stable, driven by both ARPU and subscriber base increases. However, revenues from IPTV services are likely to remain a small part of total telecoms revenues in the short to medium terms,” predicts Edyta Kosowska, Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, ICT Europe. “In the long term, market participants can count on much higher incomes from upsale of the premium content and value added services.”
According to Frost & Sullivan, currently, the most important challenge for IPTV operators is competition with other pay TV providers. Established pay TV operators, with strong market knowledge and experience have the edge over new IPTV providers. Limited coverage of the relevant infrastructure for high-quality services provision also restrains growth.
“Currently, the highest number of IPTV subscribers as well as the highest penetration of the services is in the Czech Republic, where around five per cent of the households use IPTV services,” adds Kosowska. “The Czech Republic is likely to dominate the IPTV market in the foreseeable future.”
The least developed IPTV markets in the region remain Bulgaria and Romania. Market participants face the challenge of very high penetration of pay-TV services and relatively low penetration of broadband. However, in the near future IPTV is likely to take up in these markets stimulated by growing interest of the main telecom market participants and increasing broadband penetration in fibre to the building (FTTB) technology.
To succeed on the market, IPTV providers must differentiate their offerings in terms of quality, content, additional services and adjusted pricing models, recommends Frost & Sullivan. At this stage of the market development, educational efforts are still required. Clear messages showing the advantages of IPTV have to be sent to the end-users. Going forward, due to its qualities, IPTV in CEE is likely to become a target technology not only for telecom operators and ISPs but also for cable TV providers.
“In Poland some of the cable TV operators are already providing video on demand (VoD) services via IP technologies,” says Kosowska. “On the other hand, Magyar Telekom, Hungarian incumbent introduced the IPTV service over cable television network using EuroDOCSIS 3.0 technology.”
Nonetheless, the simple economic calculation indicates that IPTV will be rolled-out mainly in the urban areas. The rural territories are likely to be dominated by satellite technology, observes Frost & Sullivan.