Global IPTV growth continues on a sharp, upwards path and is fast becoming a “strong market alternative in the increasingly competitive global multichannel space,” according to excerpts of a SNL Kagan whitepaper due to be released at the IPTV World Forum in London March 23-25.

IPTV accounted for a mere 0.01% of global multichannel households as of the end of 2003, according to SNL Kagan. That grew to 4.9% of pay-TV subscribers as of year-end 2009 and the firm’s analysts predict that the number of IPTV subscribers will swell to 59.7 million by 2013–an 8.3% share of subscribers. IPTV service revenues, meanwhile, will reach $22.6 billion by 2013, 9.8% of total global pay-TV revenues.

The number of IPTV subscribers continues to grow despite the recent hard economic times. The global IPTV subscriber base grew at a 46.9% clip between 2008 and 2009, while revenues shot up 69%.

SNL Kagan sees telcos as the prime movers, and beneficiaries. “Telco’s penetration of the video business has the potential to fuel multichannel TV hypercompetition,” senior analyst Ben Reneker stated in a news release. “As pay-TV operators face increasing pressure to meet consumer expectations for channel diversity and on-demand offerings, IPTV will be well-positioned to deliver, further eroding cable and DTH subscriber share globally.”

With 13.2 million IPTV subscribers as of year-end 2009, Western Europe is the worldwide IPTV leader in terms of market size, according to SNL Kagan’s “The State of Global IPTV,” though the company’s analysts expect that Asia-Pacific, with 9.6 million subscribers as of the end of last year, to become the worldwide leader by 2012, when the region will be home to 19.3 million IPTV subscribers.

North America, with 6 million, is the most lucrative IPTV market in the world, and that is expected to be the case for the foreseeable future, according to the firm.

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