Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Friday, July 29, 2011

IPTV Providers will Use Widgets to Retain Customers

Despite representing only a very small portion of the total pay-TV addressable market, telco IPTV services have had some impact on the evolving marketplace, forcing long-overdue change across the entire linear broadcast video entertainment delivery ecosystem.

Most IPTV service providers continue to focus on customer attraction and acquisition -- by offering similar legacy broadcast video services tiers as their competition. Those services are supplemented by a limited set of more forward-looking video-on-demand (VOD) offerings.

The latest IPTV market study by Infonetics Research confirms that, finally, some new and innovative IPTV services are in development, as operators move beyond basic broadcast video offerings and begin providing consumers a more personalized, integrated and portable on-demand viewing experience.

Multi-screen viewing, interactive applications and social networking are some of the services expected to be implemented over the next year. The question still remains, however, are the much needed enhancements too little and too late to counter the growing interest in lower-cost Over-the-Top (OTT) video subscription services -- such as Netflix and Lovefilm? Does every IPTV provider also need a stand-alone OTT offering?


Although telco operators have led with technology using IP video, satellite TV and cable TV companies are quickly leveraging broadband infrastructure to offer similar services.

Delivering meaningful differentiation has becoming increasingly difficult. Many service providers resort to free installation offers, premium service discounts and other price related promotions to gain and retain customers.

"It will be important for IPTV operators to watch the competition closely to determine the direction of this market," said Teresa Mastrangelo, directing analyst for video at Infonetics Research.

Highlights from the latest Infonetics market study include:
  • By 2012, 63 percent of IPTV service providers interviewed plan to support multi-screen viewing across PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
  • The 2 most widely-deployed IPTV applications now and next year are widgets, such as for weather and traffic updates, and caller ID on the TV.
  • About half of the surveyed IP television operators plan to offer targeted or interactive advertising by 2012.
  • IPTV operators continue to approach social networking for TV cautiously, with only 26 percent offering it now, growing to 41 percent by 2012. Among those that do, Facebook and Twitter are most popular.