Two thirds of viewers are interested in watching on-demand programming on their television over a broadband service. A quarter expects mainstream broadcasters to struggle against a wave of smaller niche programming providers. That’s the message from broadband service provider Tiscali, which is planning to roll out a broadband video service in the United Kingdom.

They may not know the meaning of IPTV or internet protocol television, but in a survey of over 1,400 adults in the UK, Tiscali found that 17% were already watching on-demand programmes on their television sets. Some 42% of those already viewing video-on-demand reported watching less television as a result. The same percentage believe that traditional television scheduling will no longer exist in ten years.

Tiscali acquired the HomeChoice broadband television service when it purchased Video Networks International for £60 million in August 2006.

It is hoping that more than a third of its 1.4 million broadband users in the UK will subscribe to its video offering when it relaunches as Tiscali TV in direct competition with BT Vision and other broadband video-on-demand services.

The HomeChoice service currently has only around 50,000 subscribers in the London area, despite being accessible to over two million homes. Tiscali is aiming to attract half a million customers over the next couple of years as it gradually rolls the service out to other major cities in the UK.

Meanwhile, BT is aiming to attract three million customers to its hybrid broadcast television and broadband video-on-demand service by the end of the decade.

“There is obviously a big demand already among British consumers for the freedom and choice IPTV will give them, even if they don’t know the jargon yet,” said Neal McCleave, the managing director of media services for Tiscali UK.

“Conventional broadcasters should heed the warning and will need to adapt significantly in the coming years to retain their market share. IPTV will create a whole new force in broadcast and digital entertainment distribution and Tiscali’s TV service will be the broadest and most flexible,” he said. “It’s all about choice.”

“The good news for consumers is that with all the extra choice and freedom, we’re not all going to become couch potatoes. While the growing adoption of IPTV may mean we watch less TV overall, the time we spend in front of the box will be of a higher quality.”