The UK will lead Europe in the charge to digital TV, predict market researchers at Inteco, with 31 per cent of households subscribing by the end of 2001.
Digital TV will account for more than 60 per cent of pay-TV subscribers in the UK by this time, says Inteco?s report. But it also warns that this will be the last chance for the cable companies to recoup their investments - and they will have to compete hard for customers against satellite and terrestrial digital TV broadcasters.
?If cable gets left behind this time, it may never get an adequate return on its infrastructure investment,? said Adam Daum, senior consultant of Inteco?s interactive TV European research service. ?But we anticipate aggressive marketing and expect 25 per cent of UK households to have cable TV by 2001, over half of which will be digital.?
The take up of digital terrestrial TV will be slow, said Daum, reaching just six per cent of households by 2001, because the decoder is likely to be no cheaper than that for digital satellite broadcast but the number and variety of channels on offer will be fewer.
Those currently subscribing to pay-TV services (half of Britain?s households) say they prefer monthly subscription to pay-per-view at a ratio of 5:3. But 17 per cent of non-subscribers say they would be willing to pay per view for some services. So, concludes the report, there is a healthy market for both subscription and pay-per-view.
Internet access is also expected to be added to the cable and satellite companies? roster of services, and Inteco expects 12 per cent of UK households to have Internet access by 2001.
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