Tiscali IPTV Sign-Ups Come In At Half The Forecast

A little stat buried in Ofcom’s Q408 digital TV report, noticed by ISPReview – Tiscali didn’t add any customers to its Tiscali TV service, over ADSL broadband, in the last six months of ’08. It’s customer base was virtually flat at 100,000, or 0.3 percent of homes with TVs. That’s below the 398,000 rival BT Vision reported for the same period, and half Tiscali’s own forecast, ISPReview said.

It’s likely, too, that many of these customers came from HomeChoice, the London IPTV operator Tiscali acquired in 2006. In fact, Ofcom said Tiscali TV lost 0.1 percent of its customers, but gave it a “growth rate” of minus 16.7 percent. It’s hard to tell what exactly that means because the number the regulator records for the service (0.1 million customers) is so small.

This illustrates how little success anyone is having in making a viable UK IPTV service. Up against strong incumbent pay TV operators Sky and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED), even BT (NYSE: BT) concedes it has “not that many customers”, Orange has frozen its TV project after a couple of years of tests – and no-one here is giving the kind of service offered in France, the world leader for IPTV take-up with 5.93 million customers in Q408 against Britain’s 490,000, according to Informa.