Internet television is taking off around the world, with over 20 million people globally now subscribing to over 100 IPTV services, according to new research by Informa Telecoms & Media.

The biggest countries for IPTV are France (with 6 million subscribers), the USA (3 million) and China (2 million).

Brits aren't over-using their broadband connections for IPTV subscriptions, with just 418,000 signing up by the end of 2008, although that still represents an annual growth rate of 165 per cent.

A continent of telly watchers

Western Europe accounts for about half of all IPTV subscriptions - with the whole of Asia not even fielding as many connections as France alone.

However, Hong Kong has the highest share of IPTV subscribing homes - 55 per cent of multichannel homes, compared to just over 30 per cent in France.

Free services account for about a tenth of the total IPTV subscriber numbers, and IPTV overall is present in about 5 per cent of broadband-enabled homes.

Speaking ahead of next week's IPTV World Forum, Julian Herbert, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media said, "IPTV has not made the sort of inroads into broadband homes which operators might have expected, but it is wrong to declare that the concept is doomed to fail. In markets where the bandwidth is available and the marketing and pricing are attractive, IPTV is attracting big volumes of new customers."