Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), MegaFon and Naguib Sawiris start the week in today's roundup of EMEA headlines.
Swisscom, which currently boasts 728,000 IPTV customers, is to take the bold step of offering an introductory IPTV service for free to all of its DSL broadband customers as from next month, a move that will significantly boost its TV service customer base as it has 1.7 million fixed broadband users. The free TV Light package offers more than 60 channels, with 22 in HD. Customers paying for their IPTV service get at least 110 channels. Swisscom's move signals its intent to grab a greater share of the Pay TV market from satellite service providers and rival UPC Cablecom , which has about 690,000 digital TV customers. It is surely to be hoped that Swiss Toni will feature on one of Swisscom's free IPTV channels somewhere, sometime... (See Swisscom Provides IPTV for Free.)
Russian mobile operator MegaFon has got an "unofficial green light" from U.K regulators for its plan to float on the London stock market, according to a report on Reuters. It is thought that the IPO could now go ahead in late November or early December. (See Euronews: More 4G for Russia.)
The head of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) in the U.K. is up before a Parliament Accounts Committee today to defend the search giant's use of "innovative" taxation arrangements that saw it paying just £6 million (US$9.5 million) tax on U.K. turnover of £395 million ($627 million), reports the BBC. Representatives from Starbucks and Facebook will be squirming alongside the Google guy.
What the Swiss are doing is basically the equivalent of U-verse in the US. So if you live in an AT&T property (and the subset of those that are U-verse) then you can get a similar product.
There are companies who do streaming of their content beyond the standard SPs. They are generally focussed on niche markets and not the top 20 content. The top 20 channels on cable like systems have a HUGE percentage of all TVs watching them (think 95%).
When you think of the current model remember it is all paid for by consumers in 2 different paths. The broadcasters get money directly from consumers but also from advertisers (who in the end get money from consumers). Broadcasters pay for rights to the content and people that own desirable content get paid good money for the rights to broadcast it.
If you want to think of streaming, start by thinking about stuff like the sports streaming services (NBA, MLB, and NFL all have them...the NHL might have one as well but they are locked out and I mostly don't care). Take a look at the costs of these services and see if you make up your current content package, if you think that the current model is as bad as you think. Alternately, you could see what you can get through iTunes and price that out.
I would think there is a big market for people who rather watch TV streaming on the internet.
Yes, and that market competes with those who effectively own the most popular content (movie channels, sports, etc). That would be Cable, Verizon, Dish, AT&T, Direct TV, and other service providers.
They hold on to their content with an iron fist. For example, HBO makes a lot of money from these service providers. It could make additional money by allowing people to pay for streaming, but there's no way the service providers will allow this, and since HBO gets all its income from them, they call the shots. So if you want to stream HBO ("HBO Go"), you have to be signed up to HBO at one of the service providers .
Major League Baseball streams realtime but blocks access to your local teams, even if they're on the road.
Baseball has its own definition of "local" (literally every square inch of the Lower 48 is considered "local" territory for somebody) -- so you're subject to a blackout on some team no matter what. For example, last I checked, all 5 California teams were blacked out in Las Vegas.
Also, no games are available if Fox Sports is showing a game. So, there's a Saturday afternoon timeframe that's always blocked out, for all MLB teams, period. Same with the World Series, I believe.
Bottom line: Streaming is available, but the broadcast networks put a lot of roadblocks in your way.
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