BT Vision boosts customers but jury still out on IPTV

LONDON - BT Vision has signed up an extra 24,000 customers to its IPTV service in the last two months, citing its Premiership package as a key factor in the growth.

The latest figures, which will not be officially confirmed until later this year, show the firm has more than doubled its customer base, to around 44,000, with the last official figures showing it had 20,000 subscribers at the end of June.

A source at BT Vision, which soft launched late last year, confirmed that its estimate of adding 3,000 extra customers per week to the service is on track adding that the service's Premiership football package, which includes live Setanta games as well as more than 200 Premiership games after they have been played, was vital to this growth.

These latest figures come as a report by Deloitte says that the jury is still out as to whether the IPTV sector in the UK can replicate its success in France, where provider Free now has around 1.5m customers and forecasts 2m by the end of 2008.

The report suggests that too much choice may actually put customers off, saying: "For some, choice may be a chore. Choosing a movie a week may be enough deliberation. For the other 20 hours of viewing however, being told what to watch by schedulers skilled at guessing what people want to watch might be an easier option."

Deloitte's report adds that the next year will be a crucial time for the IPTV sector, when further information will become available about customer's attitude to "infinite choice".

The report also warns about the environmental impact of the march of technology in the sector, and in particular the increased power consumption needed to power latest plasma TV screens, and DVD recorders with hard drives.

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