As many as one in ten pay-television subscribers in Europe will receive their service over a broadband telephone line by 2009. A new report predicts that the total number of subscribers in Europe will rise from 658,000 today to reach 8.7 million.

The Screen Digest report says that IPTV – internet protocol television – will provide a significant challenge to the established satellite and cable operators in Europe.

The number of subscribers to European IPTV services increased by 66 per cent in the first six months of 2005.

The three main operators in France currently have 280,000 subscribers between them, but that number is forecast to rise to 2.4 million in 2009.

IPTV will have a 9.4 per cent share of the European pay TV market by 2009. In Italy that figure will reach 20 per cent, followed by 17 per cent in France and 16 per cent in Spain.

“Although some technical and content issues have yet to be resolved, the combination of compelling, competitively priced triple-play offers that include true video-on-demand will prove a winning formula,” said Daniel Schmitt, author of the report. “Many traditional pay television providers are finding that they too must adopt IPTV technologies in order to remain competitive.”

European IPTV: Market assessment and forecast and Forecasts to 2009 is published by Screen Digest.

Multimedia Research Group forecasts that IPTV services will reach 36.9 million subscribers worldwide in 2009. MRG says that the number of IPTV networks with more than 100,000 subscribers will grow from five to over 40, including eight networks with over a million customers.

According to a report from Infonetics Research, 53 million households worldwide will be watching television over broadband by 2009.