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The Falling Cost of TV Channel Distribution

Informitv reports that Ashley Highfield, the BBC director of new media and technology, shared a stage with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates at the Mix06 Conference in Las Vegas. He showed a vision of the future of television, in the form of a BBC application running on the forthcoming Windows Vista platform.

Mr. Highfield, who runs one of the world�s biggest pure content web sites, said that the last year has seen a dramatic shift with an exponential increase in the amount of rich media served.

�You can partly explain that I guess by the take up of broadband in the UK,� he said, �but there�s something more than that. I think that what we�re seeing is the audience expectations that they�ve got from the music industry of being able to consume the music on their terms,� he said. �They�re now starting to expect that from television. They want television on their terms, they want to watch it whenever, however, wherever. And we as a media company, need to respond to that.�

The distribution costs are also falling. He said the cost of delivering a television channel over the air is around �7 million a year using digital terrestrial television, and around �700,000 over satellite. Using approaches such as multicast and peer-to-peer delivery over the internet, the cost can fall to around �70,000.

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