Friday, 31 August 2007

UK telcos slow on IPTV uptake

New research from Screen Digest shows that the UK is trailing behind the rest of Europe in the roll-out of IPTV services. In the UK, BT is the only provider to operate a national IPTV service.

The main driver for telcos turning to TV is that they’re losing their share in the broadband market. Delivering TV as an additional service will help them attract subscribers, reduce churn, and also enable them make money through advertising.

Aren’t telcos are treading a thin line by taking so long to make the leap to IPTV? Increasingly, viewers are turning to alternatives such as video/TV on the PC and social networking sites for entertainment. Surely, a big selling point for IPTV is that it can bring together the traditional elements of the living room TV and video-on-demand, whilst also adding new and exciting applications? For example, connecting friends and family, sharing images and music, interactive gaming and much more.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Do consumers actually want mobile TV?

A new survey by Continental Research has revealed that the number of subscribers to mobile TV is actually decreasing. How significant is this for the industry?

At this stage, not very. In other parts of the world mobile TV is much more established and has proved to be a success. The UK has never been an ‘early adopter’ market and there is enough momentum behind mobile TV to ensure that this early blip in adoption will be overcome.

What the industry does need to do though, is make sure that it has a compelling proposition for the average consumer. In terms of content we are getting there, but operators need to make their charging models clear and above all, affordable. Making mobile TV easy to use is crucial, and a user-friendly navigation system could be instrumental in boosting subscription numbers. Once everything is in place I’m confident mobile TV will really take off in the UK. To borrow a line from the movies – “if you build it, they come!”

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Review of OTT services

There’s a good summary of current over the top (OTT) services (via The Trend) in The London Paper.

Canal MOOZ has also published a list of the 13 places to watch TV online for free.

OTT is increasingly seen as a staging post on the road to full blown IPTV services whereby operators publish content on the Internet and delivery it via a user’s ISPs infrastructure.

ISPs reject over the top TV

ISPs claim that they can’t handle the video traffic that the BBC iPlayer is capable of generating. At 350MB for an hour programme it is not surprising that networks are starting to creak – and the service only has a limited number of beta users to date.

ISPs developing their own IPTV services are also surely concerned about over the top (OTT) services cannibalising their own revenue streams. It is the same issue that arose with the development of IP telephony; as usage rose, it consumed bandwidth and threatened voice revenues hence it is commonly
throttled by ISPs.

But there’s a bigger issue here. OTT services such as BBC iPlayer aren’t really comparable to traditional TV in the home. In fact, it’s unlikely that TV on the PC will appeal to consumers beyond niche markets such as students at certain times of the day. Research into viewing habits shows that even when we do watch online video we like short sharp bursts of content, hence the popularity of Youtube.

Content owners like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 should therefore be asking themselves how they can get their next generation services to the TV and onto other devices such as mobiles and gaming platforms.

Monday, 13 August 2007

ANT's Saleha Williams on TelecomTV

TelecomTV has sided with ANT Software agreeing that Microsoft’s application for a patent that will allow advertisers to target viewers via bio-sensors and cameras in their homes as 'scary'.

ANT believes that such big brother tactics are unlikely to work and suggests that sponsorship of programming, combined with one to one highly targeted IPTV based advertising, will be the preferred model for TV advertising in the future. To see the full interview with Saleha Williams, Executive VP Commercial at ANT, click

Thursday, 9 August 2007


Multimedia Research Group has reported that the continued growth of the global IPTV industry, specifically in Europe, Asia and North America, rests squarely with “misunderstood” ‘Middleware’.

Our experience is that everyone has very different opinions of what exactly middleware is. Some have even confused what ANT Software offers in terms of user interface solutions with middleware.

Here’s our definition: Middleware is specialist computer software that extends the general capability of a system to enable and optimise specific usage. Let us know what you think…

Friday, 3 August 2007

Microsoft barking up wrong tree for TV advertising

Microsoft has applied for a patent that it plans to use to help TV advertisers provide more targeted adverts by placing a camera that sits on top of a TV. It would be able to detect the presence of a person and maybe even identify them.

There’s no doubt that TV needs to look at its advertising model very seriously, as the way in which people consume television is changing rapidly. But we’re not convinced that people would welcome the presence of a camera like this in their homes.

However, we do support moves to look at alternative revenue streams within TV advertising. One option is using the user interface, or menu, to host advertisements. However people consume TV – via mobile, downloaded from the internet, pre-recorded using Sky Plus or an equivalent system, or the plain old fashioned front room / sofa way – there will always be a menu used to navigate through the choices. As TV schedules get more personalised, it stands to reason that menus will do so as well, so what is there to prevent targeted advertising around those menus?