Friday, 15 August 2008

Ofcom report signals UK appetite for IPTV technology

Ofcom published its annual Communications Market Report 2008 report yesterday. One of its key finding is that there is a huge demand amongst UK consumers for features delivered by IPTV. It comes on the heals of BARB’s research which showed that on demand services weren’t denting traditional TV services.

But Ofcom reckons that viewers are watching programmes when they want and how they want, rather than just relying on the TV schedules. Time shifting and over the top services delivered via the Internet are both on the rise.

The proportion of people with an internet connection who are watching TV programmes online more than doubled from 8 to 17 per cent in twelve months. The BBC iPlayer, which enables viewers to watch programmes up to a week after they were broadcast, delivered more than 700,000 daily video streams in May 2008.

Nearly a third of internet users (32 per cent) watched video clips and webcasts in 2007, compared to a fifth (21 per cent) in 2006. The number of UK internet users who watched YouTube, reached 9 million in April this year, nearly 50 per cent more than a year ago.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

TV catch-up services fail to dent traditional viewing in the UK

Web video catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer aren’t eating into traditional TV viewing despite their growing popularity, according to a report for ratings body BARB. Audiences watched an average of 2.34 hours of commercial broadcasts between January and June, up 4 per cent on last year. Meanwhile, commercial broadcasters are still looking for ways to generate revenues from these early web offerings.

Thinkbox, which conducted the research on behalf of BARB, says that both broadcast and online TV platforms are growing simultaneously underlining how they fulfill different needs for viewers and that they can co-exist and indeed promote each other.

Whilst online TV is only used by a fraction of the viewers that watch traditional broadcast TV, it’s clear that this is a growing market and can bring value to advertisers looking to reach niche audiences in the long term. However, advertisers face a big challenge in that they’ll need to find new, creative methods for capturing viewers’ attention via this relatively new medium.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Beijing Olympics: A test for TV

The Beijing Olympic Games will surely be a test for the TV industry. For the first time in Olympic history, there will be complete global online coverage of the events.

Major broadcasters such as NBC and BBC, technology providers like Adobe and Microsoft and content networks like Google's Youtube are all getting ready for the online battle.The Athens 2004 Olympics broke all global TV viewing records with near 4 billion unique people watching the games at least once, and a cumulative audience at around 40 billion. However, at that time online broadcast coverage was only available to a few territories.

But times are a-changing. This will be the first games when online streaming video will be availabile to mass audiences. NBC will offer more than 2,000 hours of live video coverage and 3,000 hours of on-demand video on its website. The BBC holds the exclusive rights for the Olympics content in the UK and will bring daily highlights to its iPlayer service. Meanwhile, Youtube has managed to get the rights for online video coverage of the event in the 77 territories that aren't officially covered by Olympic sponsors.

The increasing popularity of streaming video combined with the expectations raised by the Beijing Games will surely boost web traffic and possibly be the greatest test the broadcast and telco industries have faced to date.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Chinese tune into IPTV ahead of Olympics

Chinese tune into IPTV ahead of Olympics

Telco operators in China are experiencing record numbers of new subscribers signing up to their IPTV services ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games next week, say reports in the Shanghai Morning Post.

China Telecom is estimated to be receiving around 3,000 applications for IPTV services each day, thanks in part to a replay function that allows users to revisit programmes aired within the past 48 hours. Shanghai Telecom has also said that it will promote a new service during the Olympics that will enable viewers to watch different sporting events on different windows in the same screen.

Limited content has previously been cited as one of major factors for slower IPTV uptake in China. The Olympic Games will be the first major test for IPTV in China so all eyes will be on the major operators…as well as the athletes, of course;-)