IPTV continues its charge up the ratings

More viewers and more channels looking to launch...

More viewers and more channels looking to launch...

The number of viewers watching TV piped into homes over the internet - known as IPTV - is increasing as more broadcasters look to offer their content this way.

Research out today reveals the number of people downloading television content or watching it live online is growing rapidly in the UK. According to findings from Continental Research, 5.4 per cent of the UK population have watched IPTV. In total, 3.6 per cent have watched streamed live content and 3.3 per cent have watched a programme that they have downloaded.

Of those downloading programmes almost a third (29 per cent) do so more than once per week. Furthermore, 40 per cent said this is likely to increase over the coming year, while 25 per cent expect to be watching more streamed live content.

In terms of demographic breakdown there are perhaps some predictable patterns. Twice as many men as women watch IPTV and more than half of those watching TV online (54 per cent) are aged 16 to 34.

James Myring, associate director at Continental Research, said he would expect the pattern of rapid growth around IPTV to continue.

He said: "Given the popularity of downloading first music and now films via the internet, there is every reason to predict that downloading TV will grow rapidly in importance."

One area where rapid growth is expected is sport. Typically it is regarded as premium content which viewers will pay for and, with global audiences, a massive breadth of sports to choose from and partisan audiences, many argue there can never be too many channels broadcasting sport. IPTV delivers that far-reaching potential.

The hugely crowded world of US sports in particular is one area where growth is expected.

Bill Schlough, CIO of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, told silicon.com: "We're not delivering IPTV this year but you can bet we will be in the future."

Back in the UK, ITV - the UK's leading commercial terrestrial broadcaster - today announced the launch of its first streamed channel over the internet. ITV Play is currently available on Freeview and will soon be streamed online via the ITV.com site.

William van Rest, controller of ITV Play, said: "We're keen to make our content available for our viewers whenever and wherever they want it. Streaming ITV Play through ITV.com gives us the opportunity to do this."