France leads European IPTV market

3 08 2007

France Telecom has offset declines in its traditional revenues with a rosy set of numbers from its emerging businesses, including a whopping 52% jump in IPTV subscribers in the first half of 2007, reports the Financial Times.

Some 837,000 households now subscribe to the France Telecom MaLigne-branded IPTV service — up from 577,000 reported at the end of 2006; the company is also approaching one million paid views of TV content. 

The service features 51 indigenous and foreign channels, including the full bouquet of services offered via digital terrestrial and partner bundles from pay TV platform Canal+, together with a VOD catalogue of around 2,000 titles.

MaLigne is one of five IPTV services in France, alongside T-Online, TPS, Canal+, Free Telecom and Neuf Telecom.

U.K. IPTV incumbents Tiscali TV (formerly HomeChoice) and BT Vision must be watching these developments with a mix of astonishment and hope, given that the former service has been available for a number of years, yet subscriber numbers for the two platforms combined are barely passing 65,000. KIT, the U.K.’s third IPTV platform operated by telco Kingston Communications, was shuttered a couple of years ago.

Screen Digest predict that by 2010 the BT Vision service will be the U.K. market leader — but even then with barely a million subscribers. Contrast this with the expected 2.4 million IPTV households in France, forecast by the same market analysts for a year earlier, 2009.