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Showing posts from November, 2005

Google Launches Click to Call Service

Google is testing a service it calls Click-to-Call through which searchers using Google�s search engine are given the option of making a telephone connection with companies that turn up in a search, or advertisers found on the search results page. The searcher clicks on a green phone icon that appears alongside some companies. The searcher then enters his or her phone number. Once the searcher clicks the �Connect-For-Free� command, Google dials the searcher�s number. When the searcher picks up, he or she hears ringing on the line as Google connects the searcher to the company that turned up in the search. Google said the connection process is completely under its control and the business being contacted has no access to the searcher�s telephone number. The searcher�s phone number is blocked on the company�s end. The company�s number appears on the searcher�s caller ID when Google makes the connection. The idea is for the searcher to keep the advertiser�s number for the future.

Verizon and Cablevision Price War

According to Red Herring, The chatter around Verizon Communications offering a low-end fiber optic service (FiOS) is picking up. Unconfirmed reports have Verizon launching a low-end FiOS service next year that will be priced below $20 per month, with downstream speeds of 1 megabit per second (Mbps). To date, Verizon offers three flavors of FiOS. The current low-end service has a downstream speed of 5 Mbps and an upstream speed of 2 Mbps and sells for $34.95, with voice. The mid-tier service offers downstream speeds of 15 Mbps and upstream speeds of 2Mbps for $44.95 with voice. The high-end service offers 30 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream for $179.95 with voice. On the Broadband Reports forum, one report states that Verizon plans to charge $14.95 per month for a service that most likely will be 1 Mbp both down and upstream. But Verizon has been involved in something approaching hand-to-hand combat with Cablevision, a cable TV operator in the New York area, and the sixth-largest cab

IPTV is Not a Silver Bullet

According to Pyramid Research, IPTV is more about broadband, not TV. Successful IPTV deployments are more about selling broadband than about selling television. While telcos are leaders in the broadband space, they remain novices in the pay-TV market. Therefore, it is arguably more profitable for telcos to maintain their position in the broadband segment than to become a leader in the pay-TV space, as TV is only one of the many revenue-generating applications that can be carried over broadband. For decades, voice services have been the bread and butter business for wireline operators. However, over the past decade, telcos have seen their voice revenues decline significantly, primarily, due to fixed-to-mobile substitution. For example, Verizon reports a 4 percent per-year loss of traditional phone lines to wireless and broadband. Similarly, Telef�nica�s estimates for wireline revenues in Spain show voice declining from 49 percent of overall revenues in 2004 to 35 percent by 2008. Wi

TiVo Applies Personas to Target Ads

TiVo announced that it plans to offer the first television-based advertising search solution in Spring 2006. Leveraging TiVo's television search capabilities that enhance the TV viewing experience, the new product will deliver relevant, targeted advertising to subscribers that want to view particular advertising categories. This new advertising approach presents an opportunity for TiVo service subscribers to search for relevant information on products or services that match their needs. The heightened viewer experience that the new offering is intended to provide will deliver non-intrusive, relevant, interactive advertising, on a opt-in basis. TiVo subscribers, if they choose to use the search capability, will retain control over their viewing experience through the creation of a "viewer contributed profile" via the set-top box that will enable them to receive advertisements based on their interests. "TiVo is once again introducing to the TV landscape a new and innov

Qwest Gains Franchise in Salt Lake City

Qwest Communications International which has already been offering video service in three markets, was granted a franchise to deliver video service in one of its largest markets to date; Salt Lake City. Local cable provider Comcast Corporation took exception to a provision that doesn�t require Qwest to build out service citywide unless it reaches 51 percent penetration. The 15-year franchise was approved by a City Council vote of 6-1 November 17. Qwest currently offers video service in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, CO, and parts of Phoenix, AZ and Omaha, NE, using very high-speed digital-subscriber-line technology (VDSL). It also uses fiber-to-the-home architecture in Lone Tree, CO, and South Jordan, UT. And the telco is also in negotiations with the Greater Metro Telecommunications Consortium -- which represents 30 communities, including Denver -- for a cable franchise.

Verizon FiOS Launched in Herndon VA

Verizon launched its second FiOS TV market, offering video service over its fiber- to-the-premises architecture in Herndon, Virginia. Verizon is offering 180 video and music channels for $39.95 per month. The service also offers 20 HDTV channels, 1,110 video-on-demand (VOD) titles and an interactive programming guide. The telco is offering a standard-definition set-top box for $3.95 per month, an HDTV box for $9.95 and a dual-tuner digital-video-recorder/HD set-top for $12.95. Verizon offers a variety of tiers: � A separate Spanish 140-channel service is available for $32.95 per month; � A 15-channel sports package for $5.95; � A 45-channel Starz, Encore, Showtime and The Movie Channel package is priced at $11.95 per month. The 15-channel sports and 45-channel movie tiers can be combined for $14.95; � World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.�s WWE 24/7 subscription-VOD package is available for $7.95 per month; � A 26-channel Home Box Office and Cinemax package is priced at $24.95, or $14.95

Insights from TeleManagement World '05

Reflecting on the the recent TeleManagement World event in Dallas, Jim Warner, TM Forum president remarked "clearly, the industry is back and raring to go." Deals were being made, the mood was upbeat and people were flocking to hear about a range of leading edge topics that will spell success or failure in the months and years ahead. While it�s impossible to capture everything, here are the handful of things that stand out. Competition is starting to get really serious. Cities are deploying municipal WiMax or WiFi networks, cable companies are signing deals to offer mobile service and everyone is scrambling to develop their own version of the triple/quadruple play. Choices will proliferate and the providers that will reap the rewards will be those companies who are able to give customers what they want, when they want it and at a price they want to pay. What are the implications? Business Transformation is an immediate imperative. For the past few years, most companies have f

VSAT Based Consumer Broadband

Although the VSAT industry has undergone difficult times with faltering growth and several failed attempts to bring in two-way broadband services in the recent past, a new report released by Strategy Analytics predicts that current broadband VSAT system rollouts will stimulate demand for GaAs devices from a previously moribund market. The VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) market is largely controlled by a handful of players, with Hughes Network Systems and Gilat being the most significant. Both companies are at advanced stages of introducing broadband services, with one competitor, WildBlue, already in operation and taking customers. GaAs, in both discrete and integrated form, is enabling the move to higher frequencies as mature, high power/high frequency processes become available for mass production at a price point that can be accepted by VSAT designers. "This is a complex market in which VSAT manufacturers are re-positioning themselves as full line service providers," a

Telecom Italia to Launch IPTV Service

According to Dow Jones News, Telecom Italia SpA will start the rollout of its new broadband-TV service December 2, thereby completing a trio of Internet, voice and video services in which it will invest EUR350 million through to 2008, Chief Executive Riccardo Ruggiero said Monday. "With the launch of the video-on-demand and video-live offers we complete our triple-play offer, which allows customers to get Internet, voice and TV services with a single subscription," Ruggiero said at a press conference. Fastweb SpA is the only Italian operator to already offer triple-play services on its fiber optic network. Telecom Italia, Italy's leading telecommunications operator, already provides broadband video services on PC. From December 2 it will launch IPTV, in Rome, Milan, Bologna and Palermo. Ruggiero said Telecom Italia will extend the service from January to 21 other cities and aims to reach 250 cities, or 8 million households, by the end of 2006. In addition, the Milan-base

European Broadband Nears Saturation

Consumer broadband adoption is currently increasing at its fastest rate in many markets across Western Europe, according to a report published by market analysts Datamonitor. However, the company does not expect this growth to continue for long, and estimates that consumer broadband penetration will ultimately settle at around 60 percent in terms of household penetration in advanced markets. "The current situation in many markets can be best described as one of rapidly increasing penetration, where broadband has effectively entered its growth sweet spot", said Tim Gower, enterprise communications analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report. "With some markets potentially experiencing changes in the household penetration of broadband of up 10 percent in a calendar year, service providers must be well positioned to take advantage of the forthcoming penetration acceleration, prior to the inevitable slowdown." Datamonitor's report highlights the current and futu

PCCW Plans High-Definition IPTV

PCCW, which now has over half a million IPTV subscribers in Hong Kong, has announced plans for the world�s first high-definition television service over broadband telephone lines. PCCW in Hong Kong has chosen Tandberg Television to provide the MPEG-4 encoding equipment for a world-first roll-out of high-definition television over DSL broadband telephone lines. The Now pay-television service was first launched in 2003 and has been using Tandberg Television MPEG-2 encoding for its premium channels. �We have grown a successful standard definition business with Tandberg Television�s IP video head-end and are now excited to be the first operator in Asia to offer HDTV based on the MPEG-4 AVC platform,� said Paul Berriman, head of strategic market development at PCCW.

Fixed Wireless Telemetry Forecast

New wireless revenue, without broadband -- The market potential for fixed wireless telemetry applications is larger than the wireless voice market, but the rate of adoption is much slower, reports In-Stat. The cost of service and telemetry modules that are used in applications such as utility meters, vending machines, and temporary point-of-sale terminals remain barriers to adoption, although the situation is improving, the high-tech market research firm says. "The prospects for safety and security applications are the brightest," says Bill Hughes, In-Stat analyst. "Heightened awareness of the need for security, money from The Department of Homeland Security, and the perception of wireless technology as a good way to increase reliability will have this segment growing faster than historical rates." In-Stat found the following: - Each vertical has unique barriers to adoption that cannot be overcome unless the solution provider takes the time and effort to understand

Chinese Mobile Operator Growth

What a difference a month can make -- China's mobile operators reported October user statistics on Monday. China Unicom (NYSE: CHU; 762.HK) added 1.22 million new mobile phone users in October, good for 5.4 percent monthly user growth. China Unicom had 125 million mobile phone subscribers through the end of October. China Unicom added 262,000 CDMA users, to bring its total CDMA user number to 32.17 million. Unicom added 959,000 new GSM users to bring its total number of GSM users to 93.19 million through the end of October. China Mobile (NYSE: CHL, 0941.HK) recorded 3.9 million new subscribers in October, including 3.788 million prepaid subscribers and 115,000 contract subscribers. Through the end of October, China Mobile had 238.78 million users.

Alltel May Sell Wireline Cashcow

Take this cashcow, please -- Alltel is in negotiations with as many as three U.S. telecommunications carriers to sell its wireline business for about $10 billion, according to a recent report. The Little Rock, Arkansas-based carrier is in late-stage negotiations with Citizens Communications of Stamford, Connecticut; CenturyTel of Monroe, Louisiana; and Valor Communications of Irving, Texas, according to the Financial Times. Shares of Alltel were up $1.13 to $67.13 in recent trading. Alltel announced back in September that it had begun a �strategic repositioning� of its local telephone business. The carrier, which has been contemplating a wireless-only focus, currently serves more than 3 million local telephone customers, primarily in rural areas of 15 states. The company also serves about 2 million long-distance customers. The sale of its traditional wireless business would mean that Alltel will become entirely focused on its very profitable wireless operation, which serves 10 million

Broadband Customer Purchase Preference

Digital-subscriber-line providers have a slight edge over cable broadband when it comes to customer value perceptions based on lowest price, but cable turns the tables when it comes to the broadband access speed. That's according to a September survey of 1,455 U.S. adults who have residential online service. With a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points, the survey was conducted by comScore Networks. The survey found 56 percent of customers with DSL service rate their service provider as "good" or "very good" based on service value vs. the amount they pay for it. That compares to 50 percent of cable broadband customers who applied the same evaluations. But when they rated their service based on "speed," 78 percent of cable customers said their providers were "good" or "very good," vs. 70 percent of DSL customers. Cable also displayed an advantage over DSL � 79 percent to 75 percent � in value rankings based on "performance.&q

B2B Marketers Move Ad Spending Online

It's not a niche anymore. Nearly half of B2B respondents report that they have used online marketing tactics this year. "The B2B Digital Marketing Shift" study, conducted for American Business Media (ABM) by Forrester Research, interviewed 867 B2B marketers from a number of industries to gauge their views, and current practices, on brand building, lead generation and market spending. The findings indicate that the online channel is continuing to grow. First and foremost, B2B marketers feel that industry-specific marketing -- including trade shows, magazines and websites -- are more effective than general magazines or websites. No surprise there, perhaps, but when probed further, the marketers revealed a shift toward digital media, with 49 percent of them currently using that format. The B2B marketers who are spending at least some of their budgets on the Internet report spending 24 percent of those budgets online. When it comes to the future of B2B marketing, respondents

Eclectic Online Video Finds a Niche

As mainstream broadcasters and cable programmers begin providing well-produced streaming video online, they are going to find they can't just waltz into the broadband space and begin plucking customers immediately. They�ll face real competition from Internet incumbents -- existing online services such as, and -- that owned online video before it was trendy and which have attracted massive, loyal audiences. Last week, featured as one of its top videos a minute-long clip of a group of college kids pushing a friend in a shopping cart down the stairwell in their dormitory. Admittedly, it was sophomoric -- a typical college stunt. But it was also pretty funny. That�s why it�s one of the leading videos on online video channel Break, a Web TV venue that is generating massive traffic to its assortment of user-created videos. Break is on pace to attract nearly 10 million unique monthly visitors watching more than 100 million video clips this month

U.S. Satellite Radio Market Forecast

The market for U.S. consumer satellite radio devices is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent, from an installed base of 12 million units in 2005 to 55 million units in 2010, according to a report from market research firm JupiterResearch. The report predicts that 66 percent of satellite radios sold in 2005 will be transportable handheld or plug-and-play units, a segment that will maintain a 60 percent market share in 2010. In-car radio sales are expected to grow from 2.5 million units sold in 2005 to 6.9 million in 2010. "Transportable devices will lead the installed base mix with sales being driven by wide device selection and lower price points, however, in-vehicle interest has been strong," said JupiterResearch vice president and research director Michael Gartenberg. "Twenty-three percent of online consumers we surveyed demonstrated a strong interest in the service, but overall only 6 percent of online consumers have satellite radio."

Sony BMG Entertainment Spyware Suits

Just when the music recording industry was actually starting to show signs that it had finally learned some "digital media distribution savvy," one of the leading players does something foolish that raises questions again about the sector's collective inability to adapt to shifting business models. The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a class-action lawsuit against Sony BMG Entertainment through which it is demanding that the company further address problems related to the controversial "rootkit"-style copy-protection mechanism that it shipped on an estimated 24 million music CDs. The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior court, alleges that two different types of rootkit DRM (digital rights management) software have been installed on the computers of "millions of unsuspecting music customers" when they played affected CDs on devices running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system. While the EFF lauds Sony for taking initial steps to fi

CBS Talks with DirecTV, Google for VOD

Two weeks ago CBS Dipped its toe in the on-demand programming waters, and now it's looking to make a bigger splash. On the heels of a report that CBS is in talks with Google for video search and on-demand video deals -- and others including DirecTV for on-demand video -- now comes word that CBS is also in talks about expanding its deal with Comcast. "We are talking with our affiliates right now," said a CBS spokesman. On November 8, CBS and Comcast made a deal that enabled viewers to buy some CBS shows for 99 cents through Comcast's on-demand service. Those shows include commercials. CBS' Chairman Les Moonves said CBS shows would be available only in those Comcast markets where CBS affiliates are owned by CBS Corp., and where Comcast systems existed. Moonves said there would be no affiliate station conflict, since he would only need to 'talk with myself' -- which means dealing only with CBS affiliates owned by CBS Corp. Conflicts can arise from deals made

AT&T Digital Lifestyles Retail Kiosks

AT&T Inc. announced two important retail strategies designed to bring a hands-on experience of products and services offered by the new AT&T family of companies to busy consumers during this holiday season. The companies will open a variety of retail sites, including the new AT&T Experience Store in Dallas' North Park Mall, that will enable consumers to experience how "digital lifestyle" services from the new AT&T companies can enhance those must-have tech gadgets on every holiday shopper's list. The companies also have established a marketing alliance with Warner Brothers to jointly promote AT&T products and services with the studio's DVD release of the holiday feature "The Polar Express." Beginning this month, the new AT&T Experience Store in Dallas' North Park Mall and the kiosks in Dallas' Valley View and The Parks and Columbus, Ohio's Tuttle and Polaris malls, will bring the living room, game room, and home office

Mobile Industry Threats & Opportunities

Informa Telecoms & Media launched its annual Mobile Industry Outlook 2006 report, which includes detailed market insights from Informa's principal analysts and a barometer of industry opinion based on a survey of more than 1,000 senior industry professionals. The report highlights the five major trends in the marketplace that will drive operator strategies in the coming year. 1. Changing business models The unsustainability of the traditional mobile operator business model will become more apparent in 2006. The high subscriber acquisition costs (principally as a result of handset subsidies), high churn levels and falls in the price per minute of mobile voice telephony will place pressure on operators. The survey showed that: 60 percent of the operator respondents expect subsidies to decrease or remain the same in 2006; 84 percent expect the price of voice services to drop by up to a quarter; 49 percent expect churn to increase. 2. Convergence and quadruple play These will becom

NBC Universal Moves TRIO to Online

NBC Universal said that its struggling cable venture, which generated cult buzz among the pop-culture cognoscenti but not among advertisers, would be yanked from its digital channel slot and relaunched as an Internet-only service. �Trio has always been for people who are obsessed with the arts and pop culture,� said Lauren Zalaznick, president of Bravo. �The Web is a perfect place to expand that programming philosophy to an unlimited audience.� Beginning January 1, Trio will become a broadband channel that will be linked to, the Web site for Trio�s sister channel, Bravo. Existing Trio programming including acquired series under the �Brilliant, But Cancelled� banner will continue on the Internet, and more new programming will be added throughout the year.

European Broadband TV Forecast

Internet Protocol Television will account for almost 10 percent of the European pay-TV market by 2009, according to new research published by Screen Digest. Citing France, Italy and Spain as the continent's leading markets, the study predicts that Europe's IPTV market will grow to 8.7 million viewers in 2009, from just 658,000 who currently subscribe. IPTV -- which allows viewers to receive TV pictures via a DSL phone line -- is increasingly being offered by the continent's telcos as a new product to offset sliding income from fixed-line telephony. Other Key Findings from the Report: * In the first six months of 2005 the number of subscribers to European IPTV services has increased by 66 percent * France is the biggest of Europe's IPTV markets and will still be in 2009 by which time there will be 2.4 million subscribers * IPTV growth rates over the next five years will see this new platform have a significant impact on most European Pay TV markets * In 2004 eight new IP

Denial in Feature Film Marketing

Alternative forms of entertainment continue to cut into boxoffice grosses. Is the time right to rethink traditional movie advertising strategies? It was precisely the sort of news the studios were dreading. Early last month, OTX, an online research company based in Los Angeles, published a study revealing that the number of young men going to see movies in theaters has plummeted, with males under 25 saying they saw 24 percent fewer films this past summer than last, attributing the decline, in part, to their preference for alternative media. The OTX study was just the latest proof indicating that film audiences are undergoing a genuine and profound transformation, fueled by expensive ticket prices and a host of rival attractions -- from iPods to the Internet to video games -- which are now a $10 billion-a-year industry. So, what are marketing executives doing about it? The answer, according to some of their fiercest critics, is: Nothing. That is the viewpoint of skeptics like author Jos

BitTorrent Site Concedes to Hollywood

In a deal aimed at reducing illegal Internet traffic in pirated films, Hollywood reached an agreement Tuesday with the creator of the popular file-sharing software BitTorrent. The agreement requires 30-year-old software designer Bram Cohen to prevent his website,, from locating pirated versions of popular movies, effectively frustrating people who search for illegal copies of films. BitTorrent must remove Web links leading to illegal content owned by the seven studios that are members of the Motion Picture Association of America. The agreement represents the latest effort by the entertainment industry to discourage illegal Internet downloads. It also demonstrates Cohen's sensitivity toward Hollywood's piracy problems, making him potentially more attractive to studios for future deals related to movie downloads.

Western European Smart Phone Adoption

According to IDC's Western European Quarterly Mobile Phone Market Tracker, the Western European mobile phone market (consisting of traditional mobile phones and converged devices) maintained healthy double digit growth in 3Q05 as shipments increased by 16 percent year on year and 5 percent sequentially to reach 39.5 million units compared to 34 million in the third quarter of 2004. Despite a number of leading operators warning of a slowdown in subscriber growth as mobile phone penetration reaches saturation, the heavy promotion of 3G services, the introduction of new multimedia handsets as vendors extend their portfolios, further penetration of Series 60 smart phones into the consumer space, and the proliferation of low-end handsets with highly competitive ASPs, all served to accelerate market demand during the quarter. Furthermore, volume shipments of new devices ensured comprehensive early visibility and availability of devices for 4Q to meet the seasonal increase in demand and s

Digital Home Lifestyle Examples

Electronic House magazine features "cool home" design ideas -- It all starts with a great idea or two... or 10. In their ~Ideas~ section you'll find loads of them, all in living color. Home tech notions for every home.

Record 2005 Internet Advertising Revenue

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announced that Internet advertising revenues totaled a record $3.1 billion for the third quarter of 2005, making this the highest quarter reported and the first time that quarterly revenues surpassed $3 billion. The 2005 third-quarter revenues represent a 33.9 percent increase over 2004 third-quarter total of $2.3 billion and a 4.7 percent increase over the 2005 second-quarter total of $2.9 billion. Based on historical data, the annual revenue run rate for 2005 could exceed $12 billion, well above last year�s record total of $9.6 billion. �More and more marketers have embraced Interactive as an essential medium to reach and engage their consumers in more immersive brand experiences,� said Greg Stuart, President and CEO, IAB. �Moreover, Interactive advertising continues to prove itself as the most cost effective medium in driving sales and changing consumer attitudes providing a powerful competitive edge for these

SBC Scaling IPTV for Full Launch

SBC Communications Inc. hopes to launch its IPTV service beyond San Antonio in late second-quarter 2006, senior vice president and chief technology officer John Stankey said during a UBS Warburg LLC analysts� conference. While initial testing in forty homes has been completed, Stankey said, SBC is waiting on several product issues to be resolved before heading to a full rollout. �There is one more release of software from Microsoft,� he added, � which will give us the full feature set,� including HDTV services. SBC is also waiting for its two chip vendors, STMicroelectronics and Sigma Systems Canada Inc., to complete system-on-a-chip-set design and integrate the technology with set-top vendors Scientific-Atlanta Inc. and Motorola Inc. Once that�s done, �we�ll get a far better price point than our cable competitors,� Stankey said. Those set-tops are testing the chip sets and software stacks in the labs. SBC is also working on getting its operational-support systems scaled for launch, he

Double-Digit FiOS Penetration by 2006

Verizon Communications Inc. expects to reach double-digit penetration for its FiOS TV service in Keller, Texas, by year�s end, according to chief financial officer Doreen Tobin. Tobin, who spoke to a UBS Warburg LLC conference last week, said, �We�re extremely pleased with the market response. We expect comparable acceptance in other locations.� Tobin said new FiOS TV launches are planned in Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Florida and California. The company has 950, 000 homes under franchise, she added, with franchise negotiations under way in 300 other communities. Tobin expanded on future FiOS TV guide enhancements, including cross-product searches, more effective filters and passive personalization. �The end game is convergence,� she said, �and eliminating platform boundaries by leveraging the mobility of cell phones, the interactivity of broadband with the experience of television."

Benchmarking the Digital Household

The first Nielsen Entertainment Report, "Benchmarking the Digital Household" is a distillation of eight years of regular, in-depth surveys in American households conducted by Nielsen Media Research. Some examples of key trends from the analysis: * Though video game-owning households represent only about a third of the U.S. total, they are a fiercely technophilic segment, with some of the highest adoption rates of consumer electronics and services. These homes � with a disproportionate number of children 17 or younger � are the breeding ground for the heavy media consumers of tomorrow. * Two key technology adoption inflection points were identified: a slow rate of growth until about 20 percent penetration and a second rapid expansion to mass market adoption once the technology or service reached 40 percent penetration. * Average movie attendance among the households surveyed has been falling over the last eight years but the greatest falloff has come in the heavies

Asia VoIP Service Forecast

The market for VoIP services in Asia continues to show strong growth, as total revenue is expected to rise from nearly $5.5 billion in 2004 to over $10 billion by 2009, reports In-Stat. Currently, long distance calls, initiated from either traditional PSTN terminals or full IP local loops but carried over IP backbones to recipients' local networks, create the bulk of VoIP business in Asia, providing for 85.4 percent of total revenue in 2004. "By contrast, adoption of local VoIP services is slow due to regulatory barriers in many countries and the dominance of incumbent players," says Victor Liu, In-Stat analyst. "In Japan, however, competitive service providers such as Yahoo! BB have demonstrated how they can creatively leverage technological advantages to introduce new services and woo customers in a loose regulatory framework." In-Stat found the following: - In 2004, there were 8.7 million local VoIP lines in Asia. - Regulators still have to make hard, yet sma

China Hosts WiMAX Summit

If further evidence of China's headlong engagement with the world's major communications markets were needed, last week's Global WiMAX Summit and the WiMAX Forum Plenary Meeting, held concurrently in Beijing, should be a sign. Companies demonstrated interoperable WiMAX solutions, and by the end of 2005, said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum, the first group of WiMAX Forum Certified fixed network products for basic outdoor interoperability will become available. The event's combined attendance of about 2500 was a further sign of WiMAX's continuing market momentum around the world, and of China's immense potential for both supply and demand. But according to Alan Varghese, ABI Research's principal analyst, a nagging question remains: do we really need both cellular communications and WiMAX? They meet many of the same needs. What makes the WiMAX case? "Is it about spectral efficiency?", he asks, "or about end-to-end IP, data rates, cellu

IPTV Study Finds Winners and Losers

IPTV is clearly an essential element for the long-term survival of a wide array of telecom industry participants, but the move to deploy IPTV as a mass-market service will benefit some market sectors at the expense of others, according to a new report released by the subscription research service "Light Reading Insider." Network operators �- the companies that will drive the IPTV business with their capital expenditures �- will face the biggest challenge in realizing profits from IPTV, notes James Crawshaw, Contributing Analyst for Light Reading Insider and author of the report. "While the ARPU uplift promised by IPTV appears attractive, IPTV is likely to be a relatively low gross margin business for most telcos and will detract from operating profits in the medium term, until economies of scale are reached," he explains. Crawshaw cites the cost of acquiring content as the key factor that will drag down the profitability of IPTV for network operators. Other key find

TiVoToGo Extends to iPod and PSP

TiVo Inc., creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders, today announced an enhancement to its current TiVoToGo feature that will allow TiVo subscribers to easily transfer recorded television programming to their Apple iPod or Sony PSP devices. The enhancement will include exclusive capabilities such as TiVo auto-sync that will allow subscribers to choose if they want new recordings of their favorite programs easily transferred to their portable devices via their PC. Every morning the devices can be loaded with new programs recorded the night before. The enhanced TiVoToGo feature will also add more copy-protection measures to discourage possible copyright abuse that would anger Hollywood. TiVo officials said shows recorded via TiVoToGo will have digital watermarks. The extra encoding will follow the copied program wherever it goes, giving TiVo the ability to trace the origin of a transferred program that might get posted freely onto the Internet.

Movielink VOD has All Hollywood Majors

Movielink is expected to announce a digital distribution agreement with 20th Century Fox; meaning the broadband video-on-demand service will now include movie titles from each of Hollywood's major studios. "Fantastic Four," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and "Kingdom of Heaven" are among the new and library movies included in the deal, which will launch this week by offering users "Robots," featuring a voice cast of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Robin Williams and Mel Brooks, and "Hide and Seek," starring Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning. Movielink CEO Jim Ramo said the agreement was a major milestone for the online digital distribution of movies.

Verizon Wireless Finds 'Lost' Content

The Walt Disney Co. is venturing into more experimental territory with ABC's hit drama "Lost," sealing a deal with telco giant Verizon for a series of shortform "Lost" episodes revolving around some of the other poor souls who happened to be on Oceanic Flight 815. As expected, Disney has sealed a deal to have "Lost Video Diaries," a series of 22 two-minute episodes, produced by Buena Vista Home Entertainment and set to premiere exclusively on the Verizon Wireless V Cast broadband service in January (HR 11/17). The episodes will be produced under the supervision of "Lost" co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and series executive producer Carlton Cuse. "Lost" scribes Dawn Kelly and Matt Ragghianti are penning the two-minute installments, while "Lost" producer Javier Grillo Marxauch will serve as an executive consultant on the project.

IBM Service Provider Delivery Environment

IBM outlined its IMS (Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystems) architecture to help telecom service providers transition to Next Generation Networks. The strategy uses various industry components and leverages the IBM Service Provider Delivery Environment (SPDE) framework. Legacy and evolving components are integrated by using open computing standards. IBM will provide its telecommunications industry clients pre-integrated business solutions that are fully tested and designed to meet carrier grade quality standards. The integrated hardware and software components will form a high-performance service delivery platform based on Rational, Tivoli and WebSphere software. IBM plans to leverage its eServer BladeCenter T and CarrierGrade Linux computing platform. The company said it will soon announce related software offerings for creating, integrating, executing current and next generation services in a flexible, cost-effective manner.

TiVo Increases TV-Ad Viewership?

Perhaps proving that legacy U.S. broadcast television networks are deeply concerned about the continued loss of advertiser revenue to online venues, the networks are attempting to reverse the tide with "market research." Google executives must be smiling at this new revelation. Contrary to earlier evidence that the ability to skip commercials -- enabled by digital video recorders like TiVo -- would negatively impact TV networks, a report issued by the six major networks last week predicts the technology will actually increase viewership, Reuters reported. "For most of the top television programs, the audience will be greater for these programs as DVR penetration increases," David Poltrack, head of ratings research for CBS, told Reuters. "The DVR is going to increase viewership to major network television programs." The report, issued by CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, the WB and UPN, found homes with the devices watched an average of 5.7 hours of television daily, ver

House Bill to Apply USF to Broadband

Regardless of the fact that the continued mismanagement of government telecom-related funds has not been resolved, new proposals are constantly being introduced that would essentially increase the taxes and subsidies that masquerade as "assistance programs." Universal Service Fund (USF) support would be used for broadband deployment, under a discussion draft of a new bill by House Representatives Terry (R-Neb.) and Boucher (D-Va.). The bill would expand the USF base by requiring payments into the fund by service providers that use telephone numbers or IP addresses or sell network connections. �To change USF, I believe that all who play must pay,� said Terry. He called the draft a vehicle for reform that would remedy �inequities that exist today.� Boucher said he�s seeking comments on the draft by December 23, and plans to introduce a bill next year.

The Clash Over Wireless Content

Carriers currently control most of the wireless content market by offering convenient and easy-to-use portals on their sites, but third-party content providers are beginning to offer their wares directly to data subscribers, setting the various parties on a collision course. Although it may be difficult for content companies such as TV networks and ringtone specialists to completely bypass carriers, analysts say the trend could reshape the mobile Internet. The Big Picture : The clash over content delivery. Content providers and mobile operators could collide over who markets directly to consumers.

IPTV Service Revenue Forecast

IPTV service revenue, subscribers, and capital expenditures are increasing rapidly, says a new report by analyst firm Infonetics Research. Worldwide IPTV service revenue will skyrocket to over $44 billion in 2009, according to the report. DSL providers account for the bulk of service revenue now, but cable broadband providers will also migrate to all-IP triple-play services in the next few years, possibly offering wireless services as well. Service providers anticipate big payoffs from IPTV, judging from the significant investments they are making. In 2004, service providers worldwide spent $304 million on IPTV-related services infrastructure, growing to almost $4.5 billion in 2009 as providers look to IPTV services as the means of raising ARPU from a near-saturated broadband subscriber base. IPTV subscribers are increasing briskly as well, topping 53 million worldwide in 2009. Subscriber growth is strong in all regions, especially in Asia Pacific, where faster forms of DSL like VDSL a

GSM Growing 3X Faster than CDMA

New figures from 3G Americas, the industry association for GSM vendors and operators for both the north and the south of the continent, show that more than 112 million news subscribers signed up for GSM mobile services in Q3 this year. The latest sign-ons push the global GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA/HSDPA figures to 1.6 billion � that�s approximately 77.6 percent of the global mobile user base. �The continuing growth of the GSM family of technologies is unprecedented, and not only in the wireless industry. It was decades before fixed phone lines or even televisions reached more than a billion units sold, while more than 1.6 billion GSM-family customers are talking on cell phones today since the first GSM network launched in 1992,� said 3G Americas� Chris Pearson. �Now we are seeing a surge in next-generation applications, and even more uses for the wireless mobile device including email, music, Internet browsing, and also mobile television.� Chris Pearson added that GSM technologies are growing

Advanced Digital Lifestyle Research

Now in its tenth year, CONNECTIONS(TM) is the largest executive conference and showcase dedicated to advanced digital lifestyle solutions for residential and mobile environments. Recent research from Parks Associates points to significant growth opportunities within these industries in the coming years. Specifically, Parks Associates' analysts project the following: -The number of broadband households with a residential gateway (RG) will reach 47 million by 2010, driven in large part by carrier needs to acquire and retain customers and build ARPU from new revenue-generating services. -Television manufacturers will see a surge in cumulative HDTV sales over the next few years, which will boost the overall market value to $65 billion by 2009. -The number of U.S. households with a networked storage device will grow from 300,000 at the end of 2004 to nearly 10 million by 2010. -Cumulative shipments of portable multimedia players will top 13 million units by 2010. -By the end of 2006, th

Market for In-flight Wireless Services

Between January 1 and December 31, 2005, a staggering 1.2 billion passengers will have flown on some 28 million flights worldwide. Historically, passengers have been forbidden to use their mobile communications -- cellular phones or Wi-Fi-equipped portable devices -- in flight. But that is starting to change. Wi-Fi has been installed on a number of airlines, including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Austrian Airlines. Others intend to follow suit. A whole new market is being created. A new study from ABI Research provides a comprehensive review and assessment of this complex but potentially lucrative market. Mobile phones were originally banned in flight because they log on to terrestrial networks and cause network management chaos; but they also radiate at their maximum power, and there was concern about possible interference with the aircraft's avionics. Now companies such as Qualcomm, Siemens and Ericsson have developed pico-cell technologies that will allow the use of both GS

Google Base Online Classifieds Service

Search giant Google has launched Google Base, a new service that allows users to post classified ads, similar to Craigslist or eBay, in addition to almost any information, product or service that users wish to have indexed by Google or offer for sale. "Remember, our goal is to organize the world's information and make it universally useful and accessible, and 'the world's information' certainly includes almost anything you might wish to contribute," the company says in the Google Base FAQ. "We encourage you to submit your item, whether it's your store inventory, collection of original poetry, or research paper on cancer receptors." The free listing service is also currently free of advertisements. Depending on relevance, ads posted on Google Base will also show up in searches on Google, Froogle and Google Local. "We saw there were large instances of information we didn't have and couldn't make searchable," Salar Kamangar, Google

Gawker Content Integrated into Yahoo!

Combine a leading global Internet brand and a media congregation specializing in insider information, and the blog cosmos just got a little bit bigger. That's the aim of Yahoo! Inc., which is set to announce the addition of gossip and news Web content from five of Gawker Media's most popular Web sites to its evolving portfolio of news and entertainment material. Five to seven stories per day will be posted in their entirety from each blog and added to Yahoo! News' editorial roster. The blogs include: Defamer, which provides an insider's view on the Hollywood rumor mill and highlights entertainment industry scandal; Gawker, dedicated to the daily palaver generated from Manhattan society; and Wonkette, which covers political news with an irreverent tone.

Updated OECD Broadband Statistics

The number of broadband subscriptions throughout the OECD continued to increase in the first half of 2005 from 119 million to 137 million. Broadband penetration in the OECD grew by 15 percent in the first half of the year to 11.8 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. As penetration grows, broadband providers in the OECD increasingly are offering voice and video services over this platform. The speeds offered by providers are also increasing. Other main highlights from the first half of 2005 are : * Broadband subscribers in the OECD reached 137 million by mid-year 2005, adding 18 million broadband subscribers since January. * The OECD broadband penetration rate reached 11.8 subscribers per 100 inhabitants in June 2005, up from 10.2 subscribers per 100 inhabitants in December 2004. * Korea maintains its lead in OECD broadband penetration with 25.5 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. * The Netherlands has the second-highest penetration at 22.5 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Denmark, Iceland a

Online DVD Rental Market Forecast

The online DVD rental market in the U.S. and Europe will exceed $1 billion and 6.3 million subscribers in 2005, growing to almost $3 billion by 2009, according to a report from London-based market research firm Screen Digest. More than 381 million rental DVDs will be delivered to U.S. customers in 2005 -- the lion's share to Netflix's 3.5 million subscribers -- while 45 million DVDs will be rented online in Europe. In the U.K., where online rentals from firms like Video Island already represent 10 percent of all rentals, online rentals are projected to account for half the market in 2009. In greater Europe, online rentals made up one-fiftieth of consumer spending in 2004, but are expected to grow to account for one-third of the rental market by 2009.

Mesh Networking Market Forecast

Wireless mesh networking looks set to achieve a stellar growth rate by the end of the decade, but most of the growth will be in market segments not served by existing infrastructure. According to a new study from ABI Research, the increase will mostly come from deployments by alternative service providers and municipalities, rather than incumbent service providers. There will also be some "campus" style deployments in academic, corporate and resort environments, as well as temporary rollouts at conferences or fairs. "I think that the growth rate will be dramatic," says Sam Lucero, senior analyst of wireless connectivity. "It's an interesting market that has a lot of potential for alternative service providers such as Earthlink -- ISPs who don't have their own facilities at present. It is an essential means for them to remain viable in the provision of services. Wireless mesh networking allows them a relatively cost-effective way to deploy their own faci

Online Newspapers Double-Digit Growth

Nielsen//NetRatings, a global leader in Internet media and market research, announced that newspaper Web sites grew 11 percent year-over-year to 39.3 million unique visitors in October 2005, comprising 26 percent of the active U.S. Internet population, or one out of every four Internet users. The 11 percent increase exceeds the growth of the active Internet universe as a whole, which rose three percent year-over-year. This research follows on the heels of news of the recent six-month decline in average weekday print circulation among America's top 20 largest newspapers, as reported by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, among newspaper readers, 22 percent have shifted their readership preferences from offline to online sources. The majority of readers, 71 percent, still prefer print newspapers, while seven percent divide their time evenly between the two sources. was the top U.S. online newspaper site, with 11.4 million unique visitors in

KT Launches Commercial WiBro

Delegates from the WiMAX Forum participated in the inaugural launch of KT�s WiBro personal broadband service. KT successfully demonstrated how mobile WiMAX technology can be used for the real-time delivery of multimedia-rich applications to mobile handsets to key dignitaries, top industry executives and members of the media attending the Asia-PacificEconomic Cooperation�s (APEC) annual event in Busan, Korea. During his keynote speech at APEC 2005 Korea, WiMAXForum President Ron Resnick commended KT for its pioneering efforts and its role in advancing mobile WiMAX technology. He also highlighted KT�s achievements as proof that mobile WiMAX will soon become a reality for consumers worldwide, and how this technology will fuel the economic growth, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. �Clearly, those of us in attendance of this event have experienced first hand the types of video, voice and data applicationscan be delivered to mobile devices, thanks to the live network and impre

BellSouth Trials Managed Home Service

BellSouth announced a trial of BellSouth Managed Home Service in metro Atlanta. Under the service, trained technicians work with customers over the phone or at their homes to complete a range of PC services, including software installation, MP3 player and digital camera set-up, as well as system repair and virus removal. "Customers look to BellSouth not only for their communications and entertainment services, but also for enhanced services and support," said Michael Bowling, vice president, platform development and integration - BellSouth. "With BellSouth Managed Home Service, BellSouth offers one-stop customer care for installation and support of customers' PCs, home networking, data, hardware and software applications." BellSouth Managed Home Service, offered on a trial basis to FastAccess DSL customers in metro Atlanta, offers a wide variety of PC and network installation and support services over the phone, directly on the customer's PC or on-site at th

Emerging Markets Want Mobile Data

According to a recent study of wireless subscribers across the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), Brazilians showed the most interest in using wireless data services. The study asked 2500 mobile phone users under which of the following circumstances they would use data services like wireless internet and mobile TV � if it were free, if the price were right or not interested at all. More Brazilians indicated that they would consume mobile data than respondents from any other country. While Brazilians demonstrated the greatest enthusiasm for mobile data, they also led the study in only wanting these services if they were free. The price that respondents would be ready to pay for mobile data services differed greatly depending on the application and country. Russians are prepared to spend the most at an average of $4.23 per month, while subscribers in Brazil and China would pay around $4 per month, and Indian subscribers are only willing to pay $1.50. In India, 20 percent

Finally, 3G Develops Momentum

The 3G World Congress in Hong Kong is the first large mobile event where the industry can finally say that 3G has come of age. The technology may not have been mature from day one but 3G subscriber growth has outperformed that of both first generation analogue and second generation digital networks in the four years since NTT DoCoMo launched the world's first 3G network in Japan. According to Gavin Patterson, Analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media "By the end of June, 2005, there was a total of 43 million 3G users worldwide, and we forecast a total of 70.6 million by the end of 2005. Next year, 3G services will start to reach mass-market proportions and we are forecasting a total of 135 million 3G users by the end of 2006, rising to almost 800 million by end-2010." Asia will also see some of the first commercial 3.5G networks in the world, with South Korea's KTF expecting to roll out HSDPA in 17 major metropolitan areas by end-2005 and expand coverage to 45 more cities

User Data is Key to Personalization

Making the most of digital broadband interactivity requires an understanding of new consumer behavior and preferences that already are challenging media's major players and much of the industry's conventional wisdom. The traditional consumer demographics that have defined success in the television, film and print media businesses are but a starting point in a new era in which respecting the deeper data now available about user motivations, partiality and economics is imperative to making money. Traditional media's transformation will depend more on companies' willingness to alter their attitude and use of more effusive consumer analytics than on the Internet properties they align with or buy. Unless media companies begin to heed the more sophisticated user data bank available, and place the interactive consumer first by understanding who they are, even the biggest are doomed to fail. The power of this mind shift can't be overstated. "The emerging media world is

Virgin Group Digital Red Pass

Virgin Group Ltd. is set to launch Virgin Digital Red Pass, the latest choice in the increasingly competitive field of comprehensive subscription music services. In addition to its library and package of editorial and other features, Red Pass undercuts other services by offering unlimited access for $7.99 a month without a contract. Users can choose from more than 2 million tracks representing at least 15,000 record labels, said Zack Zalon, president of Virgin Digital. Red Pass also provides 60 professionally programmed Internet radio stations, CD ripping and burning provisions and a host of other new features "We created this service because we wanted people to listen to and discover more music than they ever have before," he said. "Granted, the digital music space is becoming more populated, but we believe our 35-year history in music enables us to offer consumers a certain level of musical expertise that other services simply can't provide."

In2TV Free Vintage TV for Broadband

America Online and Warner Brothers Domestic Cable Distribution are launching a broadband network that will give a unique new lease on life to a slew of vintage TV series. The service will be supported by commercials. GM is the first sponsor during the trial period. Dubbed In2TV, the network will serve up "Welcome Back Kotter," "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," "Pinky and the Brain" and "Growing Pains" among a host of other Warner-owned shows that viewers can watch in their entirety, for free and on-demand, beginning in January. Each show is presented with interactive elements, games, competitions and additional content to take advantage of the medium's unique capabilities. They have 4,800 episodes from more than 100 old television series that they'll be distributing at the AOL portal. AOL will use the Kontiki Plug-in and Relay Network delivery mechanism to deliver the VOD service. AOL is promising DVD-like quality in fu

Linux Phone Standards Forum

A new Linux Phone Standards Forum (LiPS) has been founded to promote mass market adoption of Linux telephony terminals through standardization, interoperability testing and market education. The founding members include Cellon, France Telecom, FTM Labs, Huawei, Jaluna, Mizi, Open Plug and PalmSource. LiPS will support device manufacturers and operators in bringing to market Linux-based devices at lower cost (due to lower deployment costs through standardization), while facilitating the programming and development process for software and silicon vendors. The Forum said plans to work with other organizations such as the OMTP and OMA to identify requirements of distinct device categories including smartphones, feature phones, fixed-line, or converged devices. For each of these categories, or profiles, LiPS will define standard API�s that support relevant applications and services as well as a certification process for technology providers. In keeping with the open source philosophy, LiPS

The Customer Experience Executive

IDC will present its latest insights on the key issues that IT vendors face as they build better capabilities around customer experience. The analysis comes from IDC's Customer Experience research area, which tracks trends in how IT vendors are working to better address the information needs of prospects, buyers and customers. The vendor research establishes benchmarks and best practices in priorities and resource allocation issues. Additional end-user research provides insights into the experience that prospects, buyers and customers want from vendors and quantifies how much not being aligned potentially costs vendors in revenue, retention and positive word-of-mouth. Key questions to be addressed: What customer touch points do customer experience team look at? What touch points are customer experience teams chartered to improve? What is the reporting structure for the customer experience role? What is the historical and future growth rate in customer experience staffing? What area

Advertising on Digital Media in China

Out of home flat screen TV advertising has taken off in China. LCD and plasma screens seem to have taken over China's largest cities, targeting Chinese consumers in the public and commercial places they spend their time. Residents in China's top tier cities can now watch advertisements on TV screens as they take a bus, subway, or taxi to work, wait for an elevator at the office, buy groceries at the supermarket, get their hair done at the salon, stroll through shopping malls or as they wait for the elevator in their apartment complex. Shanghai based DMG operates a flat screen advertising network in Shanghai's subways. Through a joint venture with Shanghai's local subway operator, DMG has a corner on some of the most high traffic areas in the city - Shanghai's three main subway lines have over 1.6 million daily passengers, according to DMG. The company also operates a network in Chongqing subways, and with backing from Gobi Ventures, NTT DoCoMo and Dentsu, the compan

Prospects of Projection TV Market

Since 2004, the Microdisplay Projection TV (MD-PTV) is increasing its recognition as the third thin TV, following the PDP and LCD TV. The MD-PTV is slimmer than the 20� CRT-TV with a depth of about 400mm for the 50� model. With advantages such as the �large screen� size (up to 70�), the fact that many models are equipped to offer 720p, and the �lower prices� compared to the FPD, MD-PTV growth rate is expected to be high. This growth rate will make it highly competitive with the other FPDs. The low pricing of these products is also accelerating in 2005; by the end of the year, it is expected that there will be no price difference among them for the specifications of 42� and 720p. Even for the 50� class, the low price range of HD PDPs (High Definition Plasma Displays) is expected to be between $3,000 and $3,500, so there will be price competition between MD-PTVs and HD PDPs. A new 122-page report from Techno Systems Research Co., Ltd. includes market analysis, market share of PTV, price

Google Search Personalized in Beta

Google said it is moving personalized search out of the labs and into beta mode, offering Net surfers more tailored results to their online queries as the search giant looks for new ways to attract and retain users. Google said anyone with a Google account would now be able to use the beta version of the product. Previously, it was open only to those who visited the Google labs page, where the company showcases projects that are moving closer to launching. As the name suggests, personalized search refers to a search engine�s ability to pull up results based on the queries the user has entered in the past. When people type in ambiguous keywords, which could refer to several different things like �jaguar� or �delta,� an existing search history could allow the engine to pull up more relevant results. The feature not only can help Google retain consumers but it also gives it bonus points with advertisers. By delivering ads based on a person�s search history, Google will be in a position to

Thomson Partners on Digital Cinemas

French video equipment maker Thomson announced that it has signed agreements with a number of Hollywood movie studios aimed at accelerating the deployment of digital cinema projection systems in North American movie theaters. Under the terms, DreamWorks, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers will each pay a virtual print fee to distribute their films digitally through Thomson's Technicolor Digital Cinema systems in movie theaters. Thomson said the studios will support the roll-out of digital cinema systems for up to 5,000 movie theater screens over the next 3-4 years; the company plans to deploy at least 15,000 digital systems in the U.S. and Canada over the next ten years, at an estimated cost of $90,000 - $100,000 per screen. Thomson plans to begin deployment of digital cinema systems under the agreement in the first quarter of 2006.

WMG Launches Digital-Only Music Label

Major record label Warner Music Group announced the launch of "Cordless Recordings," a new digital-only label imprint headed by Jac Holzman, the founder and former CEO of Elektra and Nonesuch Records. In an unorthodox move for a major label venture, Cordless will allow bands to retain rights to their master recordings, which will be distributed in clusters of three or more songs on digital services, rather than as full albums. Cordless will initially sell clusters from signed artists Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers, Breakup Breakdown, Dangerous Muse, Nozzle, Koishii & Hush and Humanwine, on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and new, legal peer-to-peer services like iMesh and the forthcoming Mashboxx. "When we started to think about Cordless, certain lessons from the past kept returning to me," said Holzman. "The close, creative relationship with artists and their fan base by frequent release of records, keeping costs low and having a methodology that would let us u

SonyBMG Faces Class Action Lawsuit

California consumers have filed a class-action lawsuit against major record label SonyBMG, claiming their computers have been harmed by the company's recently-uncovered use of a controversial CD copy-protection technology, Reuters reported. The label and its anti-piracy software partner, First 4 Internet, used a hacker method called a "rootkit" to hide their CD copy-protection software deep within a computer's operating system. Antivirus firms have stated that trying to remove the software could impair a PC's ability to play CDs. The lawsuit, filed on Nov. 1, seeks damages, and also asks that SonyBMG stop selling the 20 or so music albums containing the technology. Consumers argue that Sony made no disclosure of what its anti-piracy tool was doing, and that the software also depletes a computer's available resources. A vice president with Computer Associates told CNET that the software also reports back to Sony BMG on which CDs users listen to on thei

Verizon Pays for Bright House "Gifts"

Customers in Tampa Bay, Florida, might have been aggravated during their efforts to switch their phone service from Verizon to Bright House Networks, but now they�re being paid for their inconvenience. The cable provider has sent $100 Visa gift cards to about 1,500 digital phone customers to reward them for their patience. The thank you gifts � funded with cash from a settlement with Verizon � arrived in customer�s mailboxes in October. When Bright House launched its product in 2004, the cable operator estimated that 24 percent of new phone customers acquired in June and August that year rescinded their phone order from the cable company when Verizon informed them they�d have to drop their digital-subscriber-line Internet connections, too. Verizon agreed to transfer numbers over to Bright House in 2005 without tying the transaction to other products, but then billing problems arose. Some digital-phone customers continued to receive long-distance bills from Verizon. �In some instances,

Differing Opinions on Telco TV

In a speech to the Telco TV 2005 conference in San Diego, Jeff Weber, Vice President, Product & Strategy at SBC Operations, highlighted several factors which he said are making Telco TV a workable proposition today. Among them was efficient use of bandwidth. Thanks to the confluence of a number of maturing technologies, Weber said, bandwidth could now be used efficiently enough to make the Telco TV experience a satisfying one. He particularly cited Windows Media 9, MPEG-4, VDSL2, System-on-a-Chip, and Gigabit Ethernet. All these critical technologies are examined in the latest release of ABI Research's Telco TV Quarterly Service. The study confirms many of Weber's conclusions, particularly his mention of MPEG-4. According to Michael Arden, ABI Research's principal analyst of broadband and residential entertainment technologies, this latest edition of the service devotes considerable space to MPEG-4, its role in enabling Telco TV, its implications for encoding/transcodin

UK Wireless Consumers Puzzled by 3G

UK mobile users and operators are not reaping the benefits of their 3G phone service, according to a survey by Harris Interactive, which suggests that 41 percent of users are only using their 3G phone for talking and text messaging. Some users are not even aware of their phone's 3G capabilities. This is highlighted by the 14 percent of UK adults who currently have their mobile phone service provided through 3G-only service provider '3' and who believe that their mobile phone is not 3G capable. The survey also showed that 44 percent of 3G users felt it was not important at all that the model they chose to buy was a 3G phone and so it is perhaps not surprising that the full extent of services are not being used. However, those who do have a 3G subscription are more than twice as likely to use their mobile phone for more than talking and text messaging (59 percent compared to 24 percent of non-3G users). "There is a danger in 3G being given away without effectively market

IMS & Wireless Help Marginalized LECs

According to In-Stat, wireline carriers are under attack from every direction these days. It seems the future is wireless and fixed-line operators are becoming marginalized. To compete, their networks must be upgraded, new services introduced and a whole new carrier business model embraced. IMS may be the vision of the NGN, but it's too early to tell. All of this may be true, but there are near term opportunities that wireline carriers can pursue without a forklift replacement to their existing business. In-Stat research confirms that the enterprise branch office and SMB market segments prefer buying from service providers. They prefer a single supplier. Some favor hosted services, most don't. Remote monitoring may be a requirement, but on-site management is very common. Across nearly all sizes of business, there is universal agreement that a multi-service voice/data gateway device should be part of the solution. The creation of a new product segment that In-Stat calls the &quo