France is in a "league of its own" when it comes to IPTV subscriptions, according to new research.
The latest World Broadband Information Service from Informa Telecoms & Media noted that France has nearly 10 times as many IPTV subscriptions as second-placed Spain and close to 75 per cent of the Western Europe total.
Western Europe passed 6.9 million IPTV subscribers in 2007 to account for 57 per cent of the global total.
The number of IPTV subscribers grew by 117 per cent in 2007 to reach 12.34 million, up from 5.71 million at the end of 2006.
The bulk of these subscriptions were in France, where incumbent France Telecom and alternative operators Free, Neuf and Telecom Italia's Alice attracted more than five million IPTV customers by bundling the service free with broadband.
While a large proportion of these subscribers may not be paying for additional content, they receive free-to-air channels with the basic triple play packages.
Some of Western Europe's larger operators finished 2007 with more modest bases. Although Deutsche Telekom and BT more than doubled subscriber numbers to more than 100,000 each, both still have some way to go to match the relative gains reached by their incumbent counterparts elsewhere.
Simon Murray, principal analyst for TV and media at Informa, said: "2007 was a watershed year for IPTV as many Western European telcos launched full packages.
"It will be interesting to note their approach to IPTV in the future, whether it is used to increase customer loyalty or whether it is a genuine money-making standalone service."
The Asia-Pacific region also made notable gains, and China is now at or around the one million subscriber mark.
Fewer than half of the broadband subscribers in the US connected using fibre-to-the-home view their TV over their broadband connection.
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