IPTV Struggles Don't Negate Video's Importance

1:05 PM The traditional telco model of delivering video services is profit-challenged, but that doesn't mean telcos need to abandon video

September 30, 2011

2 Min Read
IPTV Struggles Don't Negate Video's Importance

1:05 PM -- Fiber to the home used to be all about IPTV -- getting into the video business, as part of the triple play, was how service providers justified the cost of putting in fiber.

That clearly has changed, as today fiber buildouts are as much about getting fiber to the cell tower, delivering Ethernet to businesses, and finding new revenue streams based on what the broadband pipe can bring into the home.

This changing business model is requiring smaller telcos, which once pioneered IPTV deployment, to rethink their strategies. The ongoing cost of video services is a major challenge to any IPTV deployment, and the growing availability of OTT video entertainment poses both a threat and an opportunity.

That's why Ringgold Telephone Co. Inc. 's decision to scrap its existing IPTV system altogether is interesting but not shocking. Despite having done all the investment in a headend, and even having built its own TV studio to produce local content, Ringgold found it was more cost-effective to walk away from IPTV and resell satellite service than continue to pay for and deliver its own content. (See IPTV Pioneer Now Going OTT.)

But it's also important to note that Ringgold isn't giving up on video altogether. Not only is the telco reselling Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), but it's also considering a combo plan for HD off-air antennas and OTT video boxes to bolster its broadband sales.

That's the kind of thinking that telcos need to explore, and that's the kind of thinking TelcoTV has been redesigned to encourage.

In multiple sessions, Telco TV (being held Oct. 25-27) will explore key topics for the new future of video that include how to build out a network that encompasses business services and mobile backhaul, incorporate OTT video into your service plan, reduce the cost of IPTV content, build a multiscreen strategy, and add new services such as video conferencing and home monitoring to the mix.

Video isn't becoming less important to consumers -- if anything, it's becoming a bigger part of daily life, and a more expected part of what broadband delivers. Instead of continuing to pursue failed business models, telcos have to face up to what's working and what's not. If you need to take that step, there's no better place to discover how than in New Orleans next month.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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