Thursday, November 01, 2007

What's up with IPTV?

VON used to be Voice on the Net now it's Video on the Net (PulverTV). VoiceCon nows has a video component. Most of the bandwidth increase on the Internet is due to video (think YouTube and TV shows). That makes IPTV is all the buzz. Telephony has a whole mini-magazine printed quarterly. The latest issue is about the middleware problem. There are over 20 companies selling "middleware" - however that gets defined. But with a consolidation in the provider space, the customer numbers are dwindling as the number of vendors is increasing. (Apparently, the RBOCs are now on the cutting edge of IPTV, RLEC's are. Read here.)

WiMax is another buzz word. And Telephony has an article about how WiMax can be used for multi-cast and unicast TV (maybe). Read it here.

ISP-Planet has an article about an IPTV provider, NeuLion, who is looking to partner with ISP's. Worth the look.

Do I think spending time on IPTV is worth the ROI? No. Cable and ILEC have locked up almost half the households in multi-year bundles. And reports are in that the revebue and income is down due to the bundling. It makes sense: $99-125 for triple play cuts their margins. In my market, Bright House digital cable just jumped $6/mo to $49.95, the Phone is $35 more and Road Runner makes the package $99.95 for 12 months.

If you own a cable franchise and/or have a large broadband installed base in your market, go for it. If you have less than 3000 Broadband subs, concentrate on one thing and get some market share. Many ISP's I talk too have less than 1000 Broadband subs but want to start focusing on IPTV, VoIP, whatever. How about focusing on one thing, maybe 2 -- do them REALLY well with a Remarkable twist and get to 1000 clients. Typically only 15% of your customers will take an upsell in the beginning. (FiOS only has an 11% penetration so far). So at 1000, that's 150 taking voice or TV. Not enough for the headaches involved.

An aside: Windstream and Comcast have gone with TiVo.

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