Skip to main content

Video Retailing Public Policy Defies Logic

The four-way battles now raging in the United States around the question of municipal, state, or national franchise agreements for "Telco TV" video services will see the telcos ultimately prevail over cable operators and local governments, according to new analysis from ABI Research. That will mean an accelerated deployment of IPTV video services to customers, and increased sales of set-top boxes.

"We are at the cusp of a strong run-up in IPTV subscriber bases over the next year or two," says principal analyst Michael Arden. "The telcos have sympathy at the higher levels of government, and in general the principles of encouraging competition and preventing monopoly mean that the telcos will be victorious in this battle. It's just a question of when."

Under FCC regulations, local governments can require video operators active in their areas to conclude franchise agreements and pay fees. Cable companies have had to complete agreements with every small municipality. Telcos, arguing that their offerings are not "video services" but "broadband services that happen to have video features," have tried to avoid that arduous process. Now, they are increasingly getting relief in the form of initiatives in several states to grant statewide franchises. Texas, Colorado, Louisiana, South Carolina and New Jersey, among others, have passed or are considering legislation setting up statewide franchises, and a proposal for a federal version has been put forward.

Local governments and cable operators oppose these moves. Their reasons include the obvious - revenue lost to the municipalities and greater competition for the cable companies - but both groups cite an apparently altruistic fear as well. They allege that the telcos will "cherry pick" the most affluent neighborhoods for their IPTV, where customers would be more likely to buy premium channels, video-on-demand, network PVR, and other high-priced services, leaving less prosperous communities further disadvantaged.

Such selectivity is not permitted under equal access provisions of the law, and telcos deny any such intention. However, notes Arden, when AT&T was initially planning its IPTV deployments, it based much of its market selection strategy on which markets would generate the highest ARPU.

Therefore, perhaps policymakers really need to consider the obvious question. Knowing that triple-play bundles (voice, data, video) are inherently beyond the economic reach of poor communities, doesn't redlining or cherry picking actually make sense? In other words, why don't U.S. state and local governments mandate that Gucci and Saks must open stores in poor communities, as a requirement to gain access to nearby affluent communities? Is the act of retailing high-cost communications and entertainment really different than any other expensive product or service?

Popular posts from this blog

Industrial and Manufacturing Technology Growth

In an evolving era of rapid advancement, market demand for innovative technology in the industrial and manufacturing sectors is skyrocketing. Leaders are recognizing the immense potential of digital transformation and are driving initiatives to integrate technologies into their business operations.  These initiatives aim to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and ultimately drive growth and competitiveness in an increasingly digital business upward trajectory. The industrial and manufacturing sectors have been the backbone of the Global Networked Economy, contributing $16 trillion in value in 2021. Industrial and Manufacturing Tech Market Development   This growth represents a 20 percent increase from 2020, highlighting the resilience and adaptability of these sectors in the face of unprecedented challenges, according to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research . The five largest manufacturing verticals -- automotive, computer and electronic, primary metal, food, and machinery -

GenAI Revolution: The Future of B2B Sales Apps

When B2B buyers consider a purchase they spend just 17 percent of that time meeting with vendors. When they are comparing multiple suppliers‚ time spent with any one salesperson is 5 or 6 percent. Self-directed B2B buyer online research has already changed procurement. IT vendors are less likely to be involved in solution assessment. Now, more disruptive changes are on the horizon. By 2028, 60 percent of B2B seller work will be executed through conversational user interfaces via Generative Artificial Intelligence sales technologies -- that's up from less than 5 percent in 2023, according to Gartner. Generative AI Market Development "Sales operations leaders and their technology teams must prepare for the convergence of new forms of artificial intelligence, dynamic process automation, and reinvented deal-planning activities that will transform the sales function," said Adnan Zijadic, director analyst at Gartner . According to the Gartner assessment, Generative AI (GenAI) s

Rise of AI-Enabled Smart Traffic Management

The demand for smart traffic management systems has grown due to rising urban populations and increasing vehicle ownership. With more people and cars concentrated in cities, problems like traffic congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions are pressing issues. Since the early 2000s, government leaders have been exploring ways to leverage advances in IoT connectivity, sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics to address these transportation challenges. The concept of a Smart City emerged in the 2010s, with smart mobility and intelligent traffic management as key components.  Smart Traffic Management Market Development Concerns about continued climate change, as well as cost savings from improved traffic flow, have further motivated local government investment in these advanced systems. According to the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, they found that by 2028, smart traffic management investment will be up by 75 percent from a 2023 figure of