The number of viewers watching TV piped into homes over the internet - known as IPTV - is increasing... and more and more broadcasters are looking to offer their content this way.
Research just out shows the number of people downloading television content or watching it live online is growing rapidly in the UK. Findings from Continental Research show, 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 who download programmes almost a third (29 per cent) do so more than once per week and 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.
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, which is regarded as premium content that viewers will pay for. With global audiences available – many of them partisan - a massive breadth of sports to choose from, it can be argued that there can never be too many channels broadcasting sport. IPTV has the potential to deliver such audiences..
US sports in particular is one area where growth is expected and is already beginning to gear up for the new market..
Bill Schlough, CIO of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, said this week to silicon.com said : "We're not delivering IPTV this year but you can bet we will be in the future."
In the UK, leading commercial terrestrial broadcaster ITV - has just 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."