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The Best Business Model for IPTV is 'Open'

Content may be king, but can phone companies become king of content? That's the big question everybody has about telcos and IPTV, according to Light Reading.

They will have to strike the right content deals and partnerships and open up their networks if they want to profit from new technology such as IPTV, according to a group of executives attending the 13th annual Symposium, "Next Generation Media Networks."

It won't be easy. Already, the entertainment industry is entwined in a web of complicated and often exclusive licensing deals, and getting the right content will be a challenge for the telcos. However, an open mind can be a big asset. "Service providers have a very substantial opportunity to play a big role, especially if they take on a role such as DoCoMo in being the gatekeeper," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks.

He said Japan's NTT DoCoMo has developed the best model for marketing entertainment content through new telecom networks by taking a cut of revenue in exchange for helping new content providers market their services over their network.

Proponents of more open, Internet-based models said that plenty of new content and business models will crop up if telcos employ an open, IP-based video platform. Jeremy Allaire, the founder and president of Brightcove, an IPTV content startup, says the emergence of open IP networks will create a new generation of content providers.

"An open platform gives content providers control over the brand and customer relationship," says Allaire. This, he feels, will create an explosion of niche content that folks can access directly over open, IP-based systems. "Nearly every small niche can be economically supportable."

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