Can Telcos Rule TV Everywhere?

12:20 PM -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) announced today that it's joining the TV Everywhere initiative. Verizon joins Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) with announced trials of TV Everywhere, whose goal is to combat subscribers fleeing from subscription video packages to "free" online access to content.

TV Everywhere is a highly complex issue, maybe even akin to herding cats. I certainly wouldn’t want the job of getting all of the required players on board, not to mention finding the right technical solution.

It makes me wonder though: Are telcoTV providers better positioned to embrace and implement TV Everywhere? Even though the current iteration of TV Everywhere is being led by the traditional cable industry, telcoTV providers lack the long institutional video legacy of their cable competitors. Such institutional legacies often get in the way of paradigm-shifting behavior, like that represented by TV Everywhere. Just ask the traditional telco industry about VoIP or naked DSL.

TelcoTV providers are looking for differentiation: Does embracing TV Everywhere (or something like it) more quickly give them an edge? The two largest telcoTV providers in the U.S. also possess a very attractive enabler of TV Everywhere -- vast mobile broadband networks -- an asset currently missing from the cable fold.

Cynics may argue that big telcos are certainly no bastions of innovation and enjoy controlling as much of the market dynamics as anyone. They might also point to the moves from companies like Comcast, which have built up an impressive number of digital media assets like thePlatform and Fandango -- certainly not representative of a company that has its head in the sand concerning the move to digital distribution of video.

Those are valid arguments. But in the high-stakes game of "winning the hearts and minds" of high-paying video and broadband subscribers, don’t be surprised if telcos co-opt the TV Everywhere concept for their own advantage.

— Bernardin Arnason, Managing Partner, Pivot Group , and Chairman, TelcoTV 2009

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to TelcoTV 2009, the telecom industry’s premier event for the exploration of a comprehensive entertainment convergence strategy, to be staged in Orlando, Fla., November 10-12. For more information, or to register, click here.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:57:44 PM
re: Can Telcos Rule TV Everywhere?


TV Everywhere....DPI and create a 10-1 BER on internet video streams.  Then create a QoS managed site to do video.




Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:57:44 PM
re: Can Telcos Rule TV Everywhere?

I fail to see how TV Everywhere can be considered much of a differentiator when  the major multichannel service providers are going to end up doing it.  But, the mobile video component, as you say, may be the telco play here, but even that differentiator will be fleeting now that many of the cable guys have wireless plans of their own in motion and even Dish (which has Sling-loaded set-tops coming) has some mobile TV ambitions going with the 700 MHz spectrum it bid for and won.

I don't view TV Everywhere as a differentiator. It's how cable, telco TV providers, and maybe even the satellite tv guys expect to protect the subscription TV model against over-the-top. Jeff

pivotmedia 12/5/2012 | 3:57:41 PM
re: Can Telcos Rule TV Everywhere?

Here's my thinking Jeff. I don't think of TV Everywhere as a foregone conclusion. A lot of stars have to align before this is reality. It very well could happen, but I'm not ready to bet the house on it ... not yet. If it runs into some stormy weather, particularly due to some legacy thinking, telcos may be in a better position to move forward (the logic being they may not be subject to legacy constraints - I'm talking culture constraints more than technology) with some iteration of their own that may create some differentiation.

The wireless angle suggests while cable is cooking up some stuff on wireless, we both have to agree they are far behind the telcos. Having 'plans' is a far cry from functioning infrastructure with an embedded base in the tens of millions. Cable has some wireless stuff on the stove - telcos are feasting on dinner already, looking for desert. If they can't build some differentiaition respective to mobile video with that advantage, shame on them.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:57:36 PM
re: Can Telcos Rule TV Everywhere? I still think everyone will have to jump in with some sort of a TV Everywhere strategy, but I certainly agree that there's a chance for a company (like a telco TV provider) to differentiate somewhat by providing a better experience and just generally executing on it better than the cable guys. And, yes, they certainly have an advantage right now with wireless; we'll just have to see how well they do at exploting that advantage without throttling access too much or charging much in the way of a premium for access.
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