Tuesday, 14 August 2007

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.

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