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IBC 2010: IP Video Groundswell – What’s Next?

September 10, 2010 - 0 Comments

Given the flurry of recent announcements on video content services, industry analysts and pundits have been busy assessing or commenting on the likely implications and outcomes.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about where broadband service providers will likely be pursuing new related revenue opportunities. We believe that the upside market potential for forward-looking SPs is perhaps limited only by our own imagination. Here’s my perspective:

Apparently, we’ve collectively reached a point where an IP video strategy is considered a given. The focus has shifted to where to place appropriate emphasis towards that strategic direction. For example, we are now seeing some service providers leveraging their medianet assets to enable an increasing array of wholesale content delivery network (CDN) services.

We envision that broadband service providers will be working more closely with content providers. They now share a common cause – preparing for the evolving video consumption habits of mainstream consumers. Moreover, it appears that we’re already moving beyond the early-adopter stage of digital video consumption, via TV screens within the family room, towards anywhere, anytime delivery of video services to many devices.

How can service providers leverage their networks to engage new customers and thereby capture market share? First, let’s keep in mind that video quality of service (QoS) is an important attribute for a superior quality of experience that consumers will truly appreciate and value. Content delivery networks out there are already helping media providers to deliver content to consumers, but with an “over the top” delivery at the end that offers no guarantees of quality of service. Now, service providers are uniquely positioned to offer content providers such delivery services though their networks, with an assured quality of experience, all the way to viewers.

Armed with a solid service delivery foundation, retail IP video providers can then freely explore distinctive value-add service benefits. If providers have access to similar video content selections, then perhaps they must choose to innovate in other areas. Services such as multi-screen delivery, and targeted advertising, certainly come to mind.

Another example: consider the support needs of the mainstream consumer. They may need IP connectivity guidance with a retail-purchased STB device. Or, home network troubleshooting for optimal HD video streaming performance. There are many ways to gain a competitive advantage.

Given that backdrop of possibilities, perhaps you’re left wondering – what’s next?

An In-Stat market study of the video entertainment industry concluded that the overall business environment is going to be transformational. They said “The business models are all in flux. There will be a continuing ‘push and pull’ between what the technology can deliver, what consumers want, and how the industry makes money. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

We would describe this scenario from another point of view. The IP video groundswell is now reaching a crescendo effect. It’s a time of unprecedented new opportunity – for those who are prepared and willing to act on the apparent upside potential. As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments on this topic.

In the meantime, check out BT’s Simon Orme talking about their Wholesale Content Connect Service, which was announced today at the IBC show. We are proud to have had BT and Cisco Services working together to define a CDN solution based on our Cisco Content Delivery Systems (CDS).

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