The Asia-Pacific Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) subscriber base will reach 6.5 million in 2008 and grow to 8.7 million in 2012, according to a Gartner report released Monday.
Revenues from IPTV services in the region will reach US$3.5 billion in 2012, the research firm predicted.
Hong Kong's PCCW, reported Gartner, is the region's best performer based on subscriber numbers. The carrier currently has 758,000 registered users for its "nowTV" service, and is expected to eventually serve over 40 percent of the estimated 2.3 million households in Hong Kong.
Globally, Gartner added, IPTV services are on track to reach 19.6 million subscribers this year, a 64 percent jump from a base of 12 million in 2007. By region, Western Europe has the highest number of subscribers, with a forecast of 8.2 million in 2008 and 18.8 million in 2012.
Worldwide IPTV revenue is projected to total US$4.5 billion in 2008, a 94 percent increase from US$2.3 billion in 2007. The North American market, estimated to reach US$2 billion in 2008 and US$8 billion in 2012, is the largest contributor to global revenues.
"The biggest change since 2007 is the rapid advent of new entrants making inroads in consumer video consumption, and placing greater demands on IPTV operators to innovate," Elroy Jopling, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "The video consumption field will become increasingly crowded."
According to the report, new competitors include portal players such as YouTube and Joost, and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. In addition, device manufacturers are offering their own Web-based offerings, such as NeuLion and AppleTV, while some broadcasters are going directly to the consumer via the Internet, such as BBC's iPlayer and Fox's Hulu.com.
Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.