Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a term that many people use but few can define. Consumers are confused about what it means. And IPTV services themselves are divided into two forms: one distributed via the PC (‘web-TV’); the other via the TV using a set-top-box on a closed broadband connection (IPTV). What’s more, IPTV services are entering an already crowded and
competitive TV market characterised by established players and ongoing innovations such as HDTV. It is an issue that embraces everyone from telcos, to advertisers, to content providers and to broadcasters.
If telecoms operators’ investment in high-bandwidth networks is to create the hoped-for returns from IPTV, they first need to convince consumers of its benefits.
In fact, the most viable IPTV strategy may be a hybrid approach, delivering broadcast TV over platforms such as DTT, satellite or
cable, and on-demand and interactive content over broadband.
Whatever approach they choose, any operator delivering IPTV will need to focus on a marketing led solution, and closely look at the organisational and cultural changes that need to accompany a successful IPTV business. Core to this is partnering – possibly including outsourcing – and investment in content and advertising expertise. Once they get the technology to work, they still face the daunting hurdle of knowing what content to offer to customers. This requires thinking beyond exclusive premium sports rights and exploiting the ‘long tail’ of content.