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Yahoo! Details Plans for IPTV

Terry Semel, CEO of Yahoo!, outlined his company's television strategy in a speech to UK TV executives at a Royal Television Society Conference this week. He announced that the company is negotiating access to a wide range of content, in addition to persuading broadcasters to open up their content archives and encouraging independent content producers to regard Yahoo! as an alternative delivery channel.

"Terry Semel's speech to UK broadcasters is astute and refreshing; confirming the growing importance of big-name Internet brands such as Yahoo! in what has traditionally been the preserve of content and media behemoths," commented Charlie Davies, senior analyst at Ovum. "Broadband is becoming mass market, which means a brand new distribution channel for TV and video entertainment and information into the home. So far though, the use of broadband for such purposes (otherwise known as IPTV) has been within the traditional boundaries of the existing content distribution framework. We have seen the same content currently distributed via cable, terrestrial and satellite, delivered over broadband within a walled garden and all that entails (conditional access, tight rights management, strict terms of agreement between content providers and distributors)."

He added that: "Content providers should take note of Semel's statement that 'Video search is a way to monetise some of the stuff that's lounging around in warehouses and hasn't made a dime for years'. He is not talking about simply adding another distribution channel for content that is already out there, but actually expanding the market for content. His statement was also aimed at mollifying those worried about Yahoo! stepping on their toes."

"Even though Semel's words sought to placate, the company's activities should conversely make broadcasters feel a little uneasy," said Ovum's Davies. "This is no bad thing: it's always the case that incumbents in any industry need a good deal of prodding, and it's always the case that this comes in the form of competition, albeit sugar-coated."

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