What does the future hold for IPTV?
This question is a bit harder to answer. In fact, no one knows for sure the current number of IPTV users, let alone the future number. One factor that confounds any attempt to get a grasp on the matter is the sheer number of providers, and not all the providers use the same format.
Moreover, there is a lot of pirated content going around, which is something that we’ll talk more about when we are exploring the legality of IPTV.
Here are a few rough numbers that can help us make educated guesses about the future of this technology:
The official number of IPTV subscribers all over the globe is more than 130million.
The end of 2015 saw the introduction of more than six million subscribers.
China is a big player in this field. In the last quarter of 2015, China was responsible for introducing more than 3.7 million new subscribers to IPTV. What’s more, the fastest growing market is in Asia, and it is also the biggest.
To drive the above point home, from a numbers standpoint, Europe and Asia have the largest numbers of subscribers. Nevertheless, from a service revenues standpoint, Europe and North America enjoy the lion’s share. This is because Chinese and Indian subscribers generate very little average revenue per user (ARPU for short) in comparison to countries on the western side of the globe.
So, based on the above information, you might be wondering what the experts have to say:
IPTV is bound to become more popular. As a matter of fact, Grand View Research issued a report where they asserted that, by 2025, the IPTV market should be worth around $117 billion. If you want to have a frame of reference, the IPTV market was around $38.21 billion in 2016.
This growth is expected to come from two sources: Firstly, increased user demand is bound to drive revenues. Secondly, better networks will make IPTV more accessible to more people.
If you want to know what other market research firms had to say, here is a quick look.
Zion Market Research published a paper where it stated that the IPTV market should enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 18.01 percent, making the entire market worth $93.59 billion by 2021. What’s interesting to note is that when that paper was published in 2015, the IPTV market was around $34.67 billion.
Another agency by the name of Transparency Market Research predicted that global revenues from IPTV should reach $79.38 billion by 2020. Even though this number seems less optimistic when compared to the other two research firms, it still remains impressive when we take into consideration that the entire IPTV market was valued at $24.94 billion, meaning that the market would have had to experience 18.1 percent compound annual growth rate to achieve Transparency’s prediction.
What’s worth pointing out here is that despite there being some minute differences, all these research firms agreed that IPTV is bound to grow aggressively over the next few years.
As a direct consequence of this aggressive growth, cable TV will have to cede a large portion of market share. In fact, how ordinary TV will fare in the long run in the face of the stiff competition brought on by OTT and IPTV is anyone’s guess.
Given that IPTV allows users to create their own channels, this means that we shouldn’t only expect growth from the demand side of things, but the supply side is expected to boom as well. And, with more variety and offerings available, people won’t be limited to what broadcasters have to show them.
The main competition IPTV is expected to face is from OTT media. Hence, it will become a matter of viewers having to weigh between two considerations: the freedom of the internet vs. the high-quality videos of ISPs. Therefore, a big determinant of how IPTV fares in the future will depend on whether communications providers will be able to provide a better user experience than what OTT has to offer.