China is trying to level the competition between IPTV providers and digital cable TV, which is slowing IPTV growth in the country, according to In-Stat. The IPTV market in China should still show solid growth from 2006 to 2010, the company projects, but the growth will be gradual.
Two more IPTV licenses have been issued in China, and license holders have achieved some progress with more local telcos, In-Stat reported. However, the government agency SARFT maintains tight control over content supervision to promote competition.
“China’s IPTV ecosystem is still shaping itself,” said Rebecca Tan, In-Stat analyst. “The ecosystem participants, centralized around telcos, are trying to find an effective model for cooperation. Telcos currently have to rely on content providers for programming while trying to gain content licenses of their own, while content providers, represented by Shanghai Media Group, are managing to control end-users through IPTV.”
In-Stat projects that China’s IPTV subscriber base will reach 6.3 million by 2010, up from only 240,000 in 2005. Annual subscription revenue should grow rapidly to $888 million by 2010. Telcos have conducted several trials in different areas around China and have begun the process of IPTV commercialization in both Shanghai and Haerbin in the Heilongjiang Province.