Broadband Content Bits: TV Ad Forecast, Sky Games, German IPTV; XBox Movies

TV ad forecast: The sky is falling – the outlook is worse than first thought. Screen Digest says TV ad spend will drop 7.7 percent this year, with prices hitting an “all-time low” in Q2, exacerbated by audience fragmentation. ITV (LSE: ITV) and C4 will be down 10 percent. The research firm pins hopes on the 2012 World Cup and 2012 Olympics for regained ad outlay. Don’t look to the web for salvation: “the performance of Europe’s most mature online market is almost flat and unable to soften the blow of an overall advertising decline“. More depressing reading in the release.

Sky Games BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) has launched a multi-player community on its Sky Games site so users can play together, chat, earn takens, register high scores and create avatars. There are over 100 free games on the site, which the satcaster launched in 2007 and which also offers a premium subscription pack for 180 downloadable games. It’s facilitated by casual games distributor Oberon Media. Release.

German IPTV: IPTV take-up in Germany will grow from 565,000 subscribers now to five million by 2013, reckons consultancy Detecon International. Currently, Deutsche Telekom (NYSE: DT), HanseNet and Arcor operate IPTV services but France still leads the way in Europe. Release.

Xbox/NBCU: Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has struck a deal with NBCU International TV to provide 30+ Universal movies as PPV through Xbox Live in the UK and Europe, joining Warner Bros and Paramount on the platform. Titles include Hellboy II and Kevin Costner’s masterpiece Waterworld. New releases cost 360 Microsoft Points or £3 (HD 540 points or £4.50), library films cost 250 Microsoft Points or £2.08 (HD 380 points or £3.17).