Just how well is IPTV doing in Central and Eastern Europe, asks Chris Dziadul?
While figures for the take-up of digital cable and satellite services are relatively easy to track down, and those for DTT still almost negligible, IPTV take-up in the region remain to some degree shrouded in mystery. This week, for instance, we have learned that the Czech operation O2 TV has reached the 60,000-subscriber mark and Croatia’s MAXtv 23,000. And late last month it transpired that videostrada, the service operated by the Polish incumbent TPSA, is now received in 50,000 homes. Yet figures for other operations such as Magyar Telekom’s T-Home TV and Telekom Slovenije’s SiOL TV – the latter one of the first IPTV operations not only in the region but Europe as a whole – remain difficult to track down, perhaps because they are not performing as well as might have been expected.
Russia, it has to be said, probably has the most developed IPTV market in terms of subscriber numbers. Yet the total figure remains unknown – probably running into the high tens of thousands, with Comstar-UTS’s Stream TV a key player and Golden Telecom’s Corbina TV’s operation likely to become one, too, in the months to come.
Then, of course, there is the issue of recently, or about to be, launched IPTV services operated by mostly alternative providers. In Poland, the number two fixed-line company Dialog began a trial in June with the intention of introducing a service soon afterwards and having 20,000 subscribers by the end of the year. As of almost mid-November, it remains unclear as to whether or not the service has made its full debut and whether it has any chance of reaching this target.
Elsewhere, services have or are about to be launched in several countries including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Baltic Republics. All will no doubt make an impression on the marketplace, but these are still certainly early days for IPTV in Central and Eastern Europe.