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Videoscape: Cisco and Service Providers Reinventing the Television Experience. Together.

Today is an exciting day for us at Cisco with the launch of Videoscape.

As our Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, announced in a press conference this afternoon, Cisco Videoscape is both an experience and a solution, purpose-built for delivering and reinventing the next generation of TV experience. Together we will bring , entertainment, social media and communications and mobility together to transform how users engage with video and how providers can prosper.

Right now the consumer video experience is fragmented requiring consumers to go to multiple sources for their content. They are going to their cable or IPTV subscriptions for some content. Or, looking to their DVR and on-demand content for others. At times, they stream online content or do applications from their PC. Even still they must find additional boxes to stream their PC experience to their TV and to others that help sling content from one place to another. And, the list goes on. Some homes are so complex that it seems users need to have CCIE just to hook it all up and make it work; but all of that still doesn’t address the experience where users are having to navigate all of these different silos and devices just to watch what they want to watch or do what they want to do (and, we haven’t even spoken of quality yet). Challenges also exist for service providers as they now must now handle the ever increasing load of traffic while simultaneously losing some traction with the portion of their audience that is considering trimming of the cord. Both dynamics can have a negative effect on their business.

Today’s announcement intends to change all of this for consumers and providers alike. With Videoscape, SPs can do for TV experience (and other screens) what the mobile internet did for the phone.

Let’s look at what Videoscape delivers to the consumer, service provider and media company. Read More »

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The History and Future of TV

From the first electromechanical television (the “pantelegraph,” in case it slipped your mind…), to the 64 million people who tuned into a website to view the 2010 World’s cup — and for the 168 years separating those two events — the ways by which we consume video entertainment morphed many times over.

Experience television’s transformation yourself by clicking into The History and Future of Television. It’s a comprehensive compilation of the technical and societal influences that shaped television – to learn from the past, and move with confidence into the changing landscape ahead..   Read More »

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The Business Case for Unbundled IP Video

As I mentioned in an earlier post on the recent market study of U.S. pay-TV subscriber needs and wants, the segmentation of the video marketplace potentially  brings both new challenges and opportunities for incumbent service providers.

That said, the debate around what to do about the unprecedented growth of the Netflix phenomenon now seems to be a moot point – as incumbent pay-TV service providers openly acknowledge its disruptive impact on the traditional video entertainment industry. And, now they’re proceeding with their plans to execute their long-awaited counter strategy.

Clearly, 2011 could prove to be a pivotal year for testing new business cases, as the marketplace becomes more fluid and is subject to further significant changes that are on the near horizon.

While it’s perfectly understandable that incumbent pay-TV service providers might prefer to bundle a Netflix-like, on-demand IP video service offering with their standard digital cable tier subscriptions, let’s remember that this is but one potential scenario.

Revisiting the results of the Cisco market study, it’s interesting that note that – by far – “the most likely motivation to pay for an online video package…” is a low price point. Call this the “value-based” market segment, if you will – it likely includes some current subscribers and previously lost customers. To win-back these prior subscribers, such as those that are looking at more of an iTunes or Hulu approach to catch up on their TV, an unbundled IP VOD offering by the provider could be very attractive.

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Pay-TV Market Study Reveals Segmentation Upside

When you think of the  broadcast video entertainment arena, it seems to have been centered upon the notion that there’s a huge undifferentiated mass-market of consumers who — by and large — all want the same thing.

Incumbent pay-TV service offerings have tended to follow this belief, by delivering a small set of standardized service packages. And for the longest time there’s been no compelling need for traditional service providers to more closely scrutinize the market segmentation variables.

Now though, we’re clearly seeing a shift in the marketplace, that reflects an acknowledgement of the growing market fragmentation. In an on-demand, personalized world  some service providers are already voicing their intent to offer more flexibility in their pay-TV service options and associated pricing.

Granted, a small subset of U.S. pay-TV subscribers have, for a number of different reasons, decided not to wait for their incumbent service provider to introduce more granular or flexible service packages. These people are among the early-adopter cord-cutters that have been equally vocal about their preference for alternative value-based offerings.

We’ve been intrigued by these recent developments, and so we commissioned a market study to learn more about the potential for increased diversity of U.S. pay-TV customer needs and wants. The following are some highlights of what we were able to uncover. Read More »

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The End of TV?

While traveling this week I had the opportunity to read David Meerman Scott’s great new book, Real-Time Marketing, dealing with the new ways that marketers are engaging with their customers.  It is a definite worthwhile read, full of examples of how the case studies highlighted there could be applied to our business…but what struck me was that TV isn’t really as much of a factor anymore as it used to be…

In industry journals, there has been an on-going debate about the extent of “cord-cutting,”  the act of a consumer like you or me (also considered a subscriber by the service providers themselves) deciding to cancel their cable or IPTV service now that they can view a show via the internet, say from a service like iTunes or Hulu in the U.S.  Conflicting statistics are being quoted left and right by different sides of the argument, which reminds me of Chris Brogan’s hilarious quote at a presentation I saw him give this Summer which, paraphrased, is “83.7 percent of all statistics are false.”   Now I’m not saying one side or another is false but are likely just looking at the situation from different perspectives.  Regardless of who’s right and what the extent really is, there is certainly some element of truth to it which means TV isn’t as much of a factor anymore as it used to be…

Personally, I wouldn’t want to get rid of my TV service. Without being able to get my Formula 1 fix or watching the Longhorn game (which in Austin is mandatory for citizenship), it would be like all the sacrifice but none of the grace of joining a monastery.   But I have to admit that in my daily life, I am spending more time than ever with my tablet, PC, and phone…and as much as I love my TV, it isn’t really as much of a factor as it used to be…
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