According to a study published in late August by Forrester Research, only 8% of Europeans had triple play service (bundling high-speed Internet, VoIP and IPTV services) as of June 30, 2006. That’s not much, but still up from 5% in 2005. This European Consumer Technology Adoption Study (ECTAS) conducted by Forrester Research surveyed 25,447 consumers across seven European countries (France, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Sweden). A similar study had already been conducted mid-year 2005.
The overall penetration rate for triple play reached 8% in the second quarter of this year. That’s up 3% compared to the same time last year, but disparities among the countries polled are far from negligible. The country with the highest adoption rate is the United Kingdom with 13%, just ahead of France with 12%. The Netherlands and Spain are closer to the average with 10%, but triple play does not yet seem to have caught on in Germany, Sweden and Italy.
June 30, 2006
June 30, 2005
Can triple play generate real excitement? So far, interest has stagnated. Of Europeans who don’t yet have triple play, 36% say they are very interested in this type of service, but that’s just 1% more than last year. Among internet users who already have a broadband connection, strong interest has dipped from 49% in June 2005 to 47% this year.
French consumers are more enthusiastic about triple play than most Europeans; 50% of those surveyed, and 60% of those with high-speed internet, said they were very interested in this type of offer.
What will it take for Europeans to switch to triple play? Most of all, cheaper monthly internet access (say 50% of Europeans). Second, a single bill for everything (40%), and being assured higher quality internet service with more fluid data flows.
If Europeans had to choose a telecom operator for triple-play, 26% would stay with their landline telephone provider. In most cases, that means the country’s historical operator. Only 10% would prefer to go through an ISP or cable operator.
In an earlier June 2006 study, Forrester Research cast doubt on whether there was real interest in triple play, using the term “financial suicide.” The weak revenue outlook and sizeable investments necessary for triple play could lead to significant losses for historical telecom operators.
Forrester projects that 10 years of losses could reach a cumulative 3,700 euros per subscriber. At present, each new customer costs operators several hundred euros a month, whereas subscriptions generally top out at 50 euros. That makes the investment too expensive for operators who also have to lay new fiber optic networks.
Europeans also hesitate to pay for internet TV when they already enjoy extensive channel selection for free, especially in Germany. But in France, 87% of households still get only the six traditional channels and don’t yet get DTT. That’s the niche where IPTV could get a foothold.
By Anne Confolant