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Tiscali has confirmed it has failed to meet targets to add to its IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) subscriber base, as competition in the UK market continues to pile pressure on the beleaguered broadband provider.

According to official figures, the internet service provider's IPTV subscriber base stood at 100,000 at the end of the fourth quarter of last year. This is half the figure the under-pressure company had targeted.

The disappointing take-up for its services comes as Tiscali recently confirmed that its broadband customer base shrank by 6,000 from 1,768,000 during the third quarter of 2008. This is just one of a series of setbacks for the company which has also seen its share price slump after takeover attempts from BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse floundered.

Tiscali’s IPTV service is thought to have been the victim of the cut-throat competition in the relatively small UK market for subscription-based on-demand television. Currently, the UK has just 418,000 subscribers, which places it 13th in the global table.

This has made it hard to operate and win custom in a sector where BSkyB and BT are dominating. Despite a slow start, the BT Vision service has shown steady growth recently and had garnered almost 400,000 customers at the end of last year.

The growth has been accompanied by an extensive, high-profile TV advertising campaign, which BT Vision’s chief executive Dan Marks claims will help the service attract three million customers by 2010.

Conditions in the UK IPTV market will act as a strong deterrent for any more companies to launch offerings in the foreseeable furture. This was highlighted by the fact that Orange appeared to put plans to launch a UK IPTV service on hold towards the end of last year. Orange has enjoyed huge success with IPTV across the Continent, with take-up especially strong in France.

Analysts perceive that it is the lack of a fibre wire network that has stymied demand for IPTV in the UK.

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