Internet video to reach 1 bil viewers by 2013

Increase poses challenge for pay TV, study says

BRUSSELS -- Viewers accessing video on the Internet will nearly quadruple in the next five years, reaching at least 1 billion in 2013, according to a new study.

The rapid expansion of video -- sparked by increasing broadband penetration and rising connection speeds -- has already created opportunities in a number of market sectors, ABI Research said.

"A wide variety of actors aim to gain a share of this fast-growing market," ABI Research analyst Cesar Bachelet said. "Not only content owners such as the BBC and NBC Universal, and Internet portals such as AOL and Yahoo but also a range of new entrants, including user-generated content sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion, broadband video sites such as CinemaNow and Lovefilm and Internet TV providers such as Apple and Zattoo."

This proliferation poses a challenge for traditional pay TV operators. Bachelet recommends that they turn the threat into an opportunity, particularly those who own broadband infrastructure. "They can offer access to content via this increasingly popular alternative platform," he said. "They can offer content beyond that available through traditional channels, and they can reach a new set of subscribers."