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Showing posts from May, 2007

Mature IPTV in Asia-Pacific is a Guiding Force

Competition between IPTV and cable or satellite pay-TV providers is heating up in Asia, with IPTV poised to gain significant market share over the next several years, according to an In-Stat study. With the help of IPTV, incumbent telcos have the opportunity to fundamentally change their broadband customer's video service user experience, from traditional video clip streaming to downloading and just plain watching TV. "There has been no conclusive evidence showing whether IPTV or cable/satellite pay-TV will ultimately win the customer's vote," says Alice Zhang, In-Stat analyst. "In the Asia-Pacific region, it is expected that both traditional cable/satellite pay-TV and IPTV will co-exist at least for the next several years." I believe that In-Stat's point about co-existence is valid. However, the innovative leadership that was inherent in the PCCW IPTV launch -- within the competitive Hong Kong market -- has proven that telcos can find and target signifi

Upside for UK Mobile Content and Services

The UK mobile content and services market is on the verge of becoming a multi-billion dollar industry -- provided the sector can tap into an addressable market approaching 50 percent of UK mobile users, according to a new market study by Informa. The study entitled "UK Mobile Content Survey: What Consumers Want," analyzes the results of a comprehensive survey by Informa Telecoms & Media -- in association with Orange UK and fieldwork partner Starcom Mediavest exploring mobile content behavior in which almost 2,000 mobile subscribers in the UK participated. Results from the survey reveal that the UK mobile content market was worth 661 million pounds in 2006, with 50 percent of revenues coming from the "mobile cash rich" 25-34 year-old market segment. Those revenues look set to skyrocket, should the wireless industry generate a more consistent spending behavior. "Today, the regular buyers of mobile content, those who purchase a minimum of one item of content e

Global Broadband Subscriber Base to Double

Over the past 12 months, approximately 65 million new broadband subscribers signed up for high-speed access to the Internet, according to In-Stat's latest global assessment. By 2011, total worldwide broadband subscribers will number 567 million, almost double the current 285 million subscriber base, the high-tech market research firm says. Clearly, in many markets, growth is being driven by mainstream consumer applications. However, in some of the less developed markets new groups of early-adopters are joining the ranks of the existing subscriber base. Understanding the differences in user needs, and segmenting the marketplace accordingly, will be key to broadband service providers continued success and growth. "The principal market driver for the adoption of broadband service is pretty straightforward: people want to access the Internet with a higher-speed connection," says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst. "Beyond this basic desire, the emergence of online applications

Consumers Buying Mobile Phone Accessories

The market for mobile phone accessories will generate over $32 billion in revenues in 2007 -- by comparison, that's more than the $28 billion expected from the Smartphone market. Around 77 percent of the revenue will come from the sales of after-market mobile phone accessories and the remaining from in-box accessories shipments. Given the problems that many consumers experience with mobile phone rechargeable batteries, I wonder if this item will continue to be the most common practical accessory purchase. According to ABI Research industry analyst Shailendra Pandey, "The number of mobile phone accessory products is expanding with new products driven by technology as well as by customer fashion and personalization needs appearing in the market." "Handset vendors and mobile operators are showing greater interest as accessories provide high margins and also opportunities to promote their brand and expand their product offerings. The growing interest among mobile operato

Consequences to Lack of Usability Leadership

Evaluating the mobile game download process of leading U.S. network providers in a recent Portal Evaluation report, Strategy Analytics concludes that Verizon Wireless offers the best game download experience, beating offerings from AT&T/Cingular, Helio and Sprint. As described in the report entitled "Cingular Trails Mobile Portal Leaders Sprint and Verizon Wireless by 20 Index Points," participants from the Strategy Analytics user panel managed to discover the game download area in the fastest time, purchase a game in the least amount of clicks, and showed the highest levels of satisfaction when using the Verizon Wireless service. "Participants showed the most dissatisfaction with the AT&T/Cingular service," commented Paul Brown, User Experience Analyst at Strategy Analytics. "On average it took users three times as many clicks to access the games store using the AT&T/Cingular service compared to Verizon Wireless." David Kerr, Vice President o

European Markets Now Leading IPTV Growth

The steady growth of IPTV subscribers and service revenue continues on an upward trend in Europe and Asia and, to a lesser extent, in North America, according to the MRG. Driving the market's successful growth in the past 6 months is fast growth in Europe, especially France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe -- in Asia, especially China, Japan, and Hong Kong; and in North America, especially Verizon, the IOCs (Independent Operating Companies) and Canada. "Our forecast shows service provider revenue growing from $3.6 billion in 2007 to $20.3 billion in 2011," states Len Feldman, Director of IPTV Analysis for MRG. "Europe continues to be the biggest market for IPTV, with France easily leading the growth spurt through IPTV operators Free, Orange France Telecom and Neuf Cegetel." "Success is also driven by seasoned operators who have mastered critical competitive operations like continuous quality improvement and content negotiations," states Gary S

Pioneer Vendors Still Dominate WiMAX Market

According to In-Stat, while better known equipment vendors like Samsung, Nokia Siemens, and Motorola received extensive press coverage in 2006 due to their high-profile service provider wins, it was still the original market entrants -- Alavarion, Aperto, Redline, and Airspan -- that held the dominant market positions. The high-tech market research firm does expect that will change as Sprint starts its network deployment. The company has not selected any of those early market pioneers as an infrastructure partner. I believe that Sprint may end up regretting that decision, but only time will tell. Conventional wisdom says that, in an emerging technology product category, the larger vendors are often the safe bet. However, traditional telecom equipment vendors tend to design overly-complex "carrier grade" products to justify their intentionally high price. In contrast, nimble WiMAX service providers will likely need to be frugal, and contain their infrastructure costs. "Wh

Verizon FiOS Features Interactive Media Guide

Informitv reports that Verizon is previewing a new interactive media guide for its FiOS digital television service. The company took over the development of the interface from Microsoft, and has revealed a new "look and feel" that is improved from the initial launch version. Verizon has also licensed interactive program guide patents from Gemstar-TV Guide, with whom it is jointly developing further enhancements. The shift in partners apparently occurred after Microsoft made numerous unsuccessful attempts to improve its user interface. Verizon revealed that it has over a third of a million customers subscribed to its interactive television services delivered via fiber to the home. The FiOS services are being introduced in 16 states across America. The new interactive media guide will be deployed to FiOS TV customers over the summer of 2007. The Electronic Program Guide (EPG) features full-color graphics with transparency, and a tabbed menu system with animated layers. Verizon

EPG Innovation Will Drive Over the Top Video

According to Forrester Research, over-the-top TV is easy to conceive but hard to deliver. It has the potential to completely shift the way that TV industry works, connecting consumers and their pocketbooks directly to content providers, while creating disruption for traditional cable or satellite -- and more recently telco -- pay-TV service providers. But, for now, there are four big challenges to over-the-top TV delivery -- a lack of devices to connect TVs to the Internet; poor video quality due to limited bandwidth; lack of an economics justification; and lack of TV interfaces that can cope with millions of programming choices. Forrester concludes that over-the-top TV won't start to develop momentum with ordinary TV shows, because they're far too lucrative right where they are. Instead, look for momentum to begin with niche programs that currently can't get on broadcast or cable TV channels. Even if a broad collection of shows becomes available on TV sets from the Interne

Multi-Channel Digital Entertainment Market

The multi-channel entertainment market includes video technologies geared towards consumer needs in the home. In the past, the household television has served as the primary device to view video content. Within the last five years, there have been broad improvements in sound and picture quality, the variety of programs, and new types of applications to manage the TV-watching experience. Digital TV has enabled video to be repackaged with improved navigation and customized to meet consumer entertainment demands. Current Analysis prepared the following assessment of the U.S. digital home entertainment market. Digital TV Offers Much More: Cable and satellite pay-TV providers are offering their customers an abundance of digital channels and VoD programming covering genres such as news, movies, and sports. The limitations of analog TV have caused cable providers to push for all their premium services to be available only with a digital TV set-top box. The major cable providers have managed t

Four Steps to Behavioral Target Marketing

Behavioral targeting -- identifying the potential buyers of a new product or service based upon their past behavior -- is an axiom of marketing. However, it can be difficult to target consumers based on their behavior, according to a study by Forrester Research. Tracking online behavior gives interactive marketers and technology product marketers a powerful tool for identifying potential buyers and predicting the growth of a market. Forrester believes that there are four essential steps to target consumers, and implement marketing campaigns based on consumer behavior: Identify the behaviors that best mirror your new product or service -- The best predictor of adoption is past behavior. If a consumer is doing something similar to the new thing, then they will understand the value of the new thing and potentially buy it. For example, the best predictor of the adoption of music on mobile phones is the adoption of music on PCs. Product marketers must identify these behavioral proxies to u

Network TV and Open Mobile Video Coalition

Last month, nine of the largest U.S. television broadcast groups announced the launch of the "Open Mobile Video Coalition," an industry alliance to accelerate the development of mobile digital broadcast television. The broadcasters jointly announcing the Coalition included Belo Corp., Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Gray Television, ION Media Networks, the NBC & Telemundo Television Stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Broadcasting Company. These companies collectively represent over 280 television stations in the U.S., covering 95 million households, including 49 of the top 50 markets nationwide. The group's membership is expected to grow, and they anticipate working closely with the Advanced Technology Advocacy Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The Coalition invited all U.S. based broadcasters to join in driving key initiatives viewed as central to realizing the full potential of the digital broadcast television sp

Computing Storage Expands Digital Universe

By 2011, the hard disk drive (HDD) industry will more than quadruple the total HDD capacity shipped in 2006 to meet the growing storage requirements of an expanding digital universe, according to an IDC market study. Worldwide HDD unit shipments will increase to 675 million units in 2011, while revenue will rise to approximately $37 billion. "The expanding digital universe creates a tremendous opportunity for HDD storage used in PCs, enterprise systems, and personal storage devices," said John Rydning, research manager for IDC's hard disk drives program. "Despite challenges from competing storage technologies, volatile consumer electronic markets, and enigmatic changes ahead for the computing environment, the fundamental need for additional storage capacity worldwide will continue to generate solid HDD demand." As low-cost HDD capabilities further migrate into consumer electronics devices I believe that digital media storage limitations will become less of a gat

Television Still Popular, Despite Online Video

While digital video continues to grab headlines with the growing prominence of streaming and downloading video files among online adults, today's entertainment enthusiasts remain largely steadfast in their love of traditional viewing options, according to Ipsos Insight. Among those adults that actively stream and download video content, just 11 percent of the video content they consume is viewed on a PC, while the overwhelming majority of their video content (75 percent) is consumed on a television set. Even among 12-24 year olds, who are the heaviest video streamers or downloaders, over 60 percent of their video content is currently consumed on the TV. So, according to Ipsos, despite the rise of online video offerings today, consumers appear just as entranced by the increasing variety of content options available for viewing on their TVs, including terrestrial and premium broadcast television, DVDs, and pay-per-view options, as well as a growing autonomy to control when they watch

Online Video Creates SME Advertising Option

In the latest wave of The Kelsey Group's User View study, 59 percent of those surveyed claimed to watch online video, and more than half said they engage in some sort of response activity, such as visiting a Web site, going to a physical location, or making a purchase. The study's findings are highlighted in a new Kelsey Group report entitled "Online Video: A New Local Advertising Paradigm," which credits the popularity of YouTube with bringing online video watching to mainstream audiences. "YouTube has largely popularized the concept of watching short videos on a computer screen and has likewise familiarized consumers with the idea of watching short video ads," said the report's author, Michael Boland, Kelsey Group senior analyst. "A wide range of business models are coming to market in the hopes of tapping into the growing demand for video. We are in a wild-west phase of experimentation on all fronts -- content generation, licensing, search and mo

Consumers Rate Apple iPhone Experience

The Strategy Analytics wireless device labs recently tested consumer perceptions of the new Apple iPhone experience in a series of research panels. Their resulting study reports on the iPhone's perceived superior performance. In a joint research effort between its Wireless Device Lab and Intelligent System Strategies program, Strategy Analytics explored the appeal of iPhone features, developed comparisons with current products, investigated the nature of the iPhone experience, and gained insights on design criteria for future mobile devices. "An overwhelming 90 percent of respondents gave the iPhone higher marks than their current handset, and over 40 percent of respondents rated the iPhone much better across key functional categories -- including music player, web browsing, voice mail, and phone call management -- indicating real innovation in designing a user experience," said Harvey Cohen, President of Strategy Analytics, who conducted this research study. "While

The Long Term Evolution of 3G Technologies

Nearly 300,000 LTE base transceiver stations will be installed by 2014, according to a new study from ABI Research. While LTE will encounter competition from other mobile broadband technologies, its supporters praise its potential to unify the mobile infrastructure market. LTE brings to the market 25 years of operating experience using TDM and CDMA technology. It aims to use that, combined with OFDM, and other techniques, to provide the best of both worlds, perhaps displacing WiMAX. This also takes the wireless industry from the current two-network approach of circuit switching for voice, and packet switching for data to a single IP network for both services. "LTE faces competition from other broadband wireless technologies and it will need to demonstrate clear technical and economic advantages to convince network operators," says ABI Research analyst Ian Cox. "The mobile variant of WiMAX will start to appear in 2007 as the WiMAX Forum Certification program ramps up. The

Fertile Ground for Pay-TV in Eastern Europe

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, pay-TV in Central and Eastern Europe is just as likely to be offered by telcos as by cable or satellite TV providers, unlike regions where the traditional platforms dominate the landscape. Their report, "IPTV: Eastern Europe Offers Fertile Ground for Advanced Telco Services," examines the emerging IPTV competitive landscape in Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and other countries in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, and concludes that millions of households across Eastern Europe are now able to choose an IPTV provider as an alternative to cable or satellite pay-TV. "The absence of entrenched and well established pay-TV providers, such as cable and satellite operators, means that telco IPTV services will face much less competition than in most other developed regions," comments Martin Olausson, Director of Digital Media Research at Strategy Analytics. "Telco IPTV in the CEE

Researching the Darkside of Internet Filtering

The OpenNet Initiative (ONI) is a collaborative partnership of four leading academic institutions -- the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School; the Advanced Network Research Group at the Cambridge Security Programme, University of Cambridge; and the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University. Their aim is to investigate, expose and analyze Internet filtering and surveillance practices in a credible and non-partisan fashion. They intend to uncover the potential pitfalls and unintended consequences of these practices, and thus help to inform better public policy and advocacy work in this area. To achieve these aims, the ONI employs a unique multi-disciplinary approach that includes: - Development and deployment of a suite of technical enumeration tools and core methodologies for the study of Internet filtering and survellance; - Capacity-building among networks of local advoca

Advertising Assessment within Different Media

comScore released the results of a recent market study of consumer's receptivity to advertising in different media formats. Their assessment: an advertisement's effectiveness is based in part on the medium that carries it, and how much trust consumers have in that medium. They suggest that we think of it this way -- consider the type of advertisements we're more receptive to -- an advert that we see on a late-night infomercial, in a weekly newspaper circular, on a web site, or during a prime-time television newscast? To shed some light on the subject, comScore conducted a survey that quantified consumer's changing attitudes and receptivity to advertising across these various media. They presented the results at the American Marketing Association's Mplanet conference, where more than 1000 marketers gathered to discuss growing consumer control, new media and marketing performance. comScore's survey results uncovered that consumers are most likely to notice adverti

Handheld Device Decline Creates Opportunity

The worldwide handheld device market opened the year with its thirteenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year decline as user interest continued to transition towards converged mobile devices and other consumer electronics devices. According to IDC's Worldwide Handheld QView, vendors shipped just over 900,000 handheld devices in the first quarter of 2007, 36.3 percent less than the previous quarter and 40.6 percent less than the same quarter a year ago. The decrease in shipments coincides with the announcement that one of the leading vendors, Dell, is leaving the handheld device industry. "Dell's exit from the handheld device market underscores the market's decline," says Ramon Llamas, research analyst with IDC's Mobile Device Technology and Trends team. "The features found on a handheld device are not exclusive to handheld devices." Personal information management, the key feature that once distinguished handheld devices, can now be found commonly on

Another Setback for U.S. Telecom Competition

Associated Press reports that the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the nation's largest local phone companies in a lawsuit by consumers alleging anti-competitive business practices, and restraint of trade. The court ruled 7-2 that the suit lacked any specifics in accusing the companies of secretly agreeing not to compete in each other's territories for local telephone and broadband Internet service -- implying that the fact that they clearly do not compete, is pure coincidence. As unlikely as that may seem, it's still not enough to make a bare assertion of conspiracy, Justice David Souter wrote in the majority opinion. Souter said the complaint alleging restraint of trade "comes up short." He said the consumers who filed the suit "have not nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible." In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens objected to the lower court's dismissal of the case without requiring a response from the phone companies. Such

Wi-Fi and WiMAX Compete for M2M Market

Cellular Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications first started in the era of analog cellular connectivity, and have largely shifted now to 2G GPRS and CDMA connectivity. Certain M2M applications can benefit from the higher data rates than 3G cellular offers, and it is tempting to assume that all M2M communications will be 3G eventually. But a new study from ABI Research forecasts that 3G modules will achieve only a 30 percent penetration of the M2M market by 2012, and will become the technology of choice only where bandwidth demands and economics dictate -- future-proofing will play a smaller role in 3G M2M market development, over the next five years. In addition, according to Sam Lucero, Senior Analyst, M2M and Wireless Connectivity, "Municipal Wi-Fi and WiMAX will both challenge 3G cellular technology as the most suitable methods to achieve high-speed M2M communications for many applications and in many locales." High speed wireless M2M will find its natural uses where the

Landscape of the Mature Digital Marketplace

The Internet is revolutionizing the way we live, work, communicate, access information, and entertain ourselves. IDC recently found that more than 70 percent of Americans are using the Internet on a daily basis for personal and business use. Providing a quick and convenient way to exchange goods and services globally, the Internet has created a new economic ecosystem -- which IDC calls the Digital Marketplace -- that has become the virtual main street of world commerce. According to IDC, the Digital Marketplace has reached a tipping point and will see double-digit growth rates until at least the end of this decade. "The tipping point is being driven by increased consumer sophistication, commercial maturity, and technology readiness," said Rachel Happe, research manager for IDC's Digital Marketplace program. "This will jump-start a new wave of adoption and growth, particularly in rich media content and social networking applications." With close to two trillion d

The Top Ranked Features for Mobile Phones

Every year cell phones seem to have additional features tacked on to them, and certainly this year is no exception. In-Stat recently completed an assessment of the mobile devices sector, to learn more about user needs. Here in the U.S. market, Verizon is adding broadcast mobile TV this year, while Sprint and Verizon tout their turn-by-turn GPS services, and AT&T ramps up its 3G services and devices, while T-Mobile plans to soon launch a Voice over Wi-Fi service. So, more and more features, but are any of them actually attracting mobile phone service subscribers? In-Stat wanted to uncover the facts. In the last week of April, In-Stat conducted a survey of cell phone users, and focused just on the responses of those subscribers that planned to replace their mobile phones in the foreseeable future. What features did users want in their new phones and whic

U.S. Cable MSOs Trialing IP Video Services

The recent announcement by Comcast that it will trial IP video services later this year using the new DOCSIS 3.0 data networking standard highlights the keen interest many cable operators around the world are showing in the possibilities of IPTV. "The coming integration of IP video services into cable TV infrastructure is the result of a convergence of market forces," says ABI Research vice president Stan Schatt. "The main driver is the threat from the telecom operators, whose IP network configurations are allowing them to offer more dynamic services. As well as moving to IP to counter this threat, the cable operators aim to up the ante by incorporating mobile voice into their bundled offerings as quickly as possible." Another driver for IP video is the need for improved network efficiency and more available broadband spectrum. To offer more services, cable operators need bigger network pipes. Their voice services are already IP, and they're already using IP ove

Upscale Profile of iTunes Podcast Audience

comScore released the results of a study profiling the Apple iTunes podcasting audience. The study, sponsored by mobile advertising enabler Ad Infuse, focused on those users who downloaded podcasts via iTunes in October 2006. An analysis of the iTunes podcasting audience revealed that males represented a significantly larger share (63 percent) of the audience than did females (37 percent). In addition, 18-24 year olds represented a substantial share of the audience (29 percent) and were more than twice as likely as the average Internet user to download podcasts. People between the ages of 35-54 represented about half of the podcasting audience and were also more likely than average to download podcasts. "The comScore study reveals significant advertising opportunities among several consumer segments," said Nick Tabbal, comScore senior vice president of media and entertainment solutions. "While the conventional wisdom says that only young, tech-savvy consumers are downlo

Free Services Stimulate Flat U.S. Mobile VAS

According to the Strategy Analytics, the exclusive availability of the ESPN MVP sports application to the Verizon Wireless V-Cast users -- across a range of popular handset models, and for free -- represents a strong boost to Verizon Wireless U.S. service offering. I believe that it's most likely a response to the consistently slow uptake of wireless value-added services (VAS). U.S. mobile phone subscribers should anticipate even more "free" promotions -- as U.S. wireless service providers attempt to stimulate their otherwise flat demand for VAS. Verizon Wireless has made ESPN's MVP application included as a free download to subscribers paying $15 per month for its V-Pak offering. The application, which has been developed for BREW handsets, provides deep integration with and offers real-time sports news, scores and information, personalization for favorite teams, scoring alerts, video, and virtual game illustration. Senior Analyst, Nitesh Patel, notes, "

WiMAX Carriers Try to Differentiate Services

Clearwire, the U.S. wireless service provider, has announced that it had received FCC approval for a WiMAX laptop card. Motorola will manufacture the card for Clearwire, which is expected by Clearwire to be available during the second half of 2007. In-Stat believes that there are two significant developments coming from this announcement. First, Clearwire appears to be starting to take steps to differentiate its service from other existing broadband providers. With portability, Clearwire can offer a broadband service that breaks down the artificial wall between the home and away Internet experience. This gives Clearwire a way to differentiate itself from current service offerings which are either strictly for a fixed or portable experience. Service differentiation is important as Clearwire needs to find a way to win customers away from incumbent broadband providers. Generally there are only two ways to do that -- either be cheaper or be different. For a company

Disruptive Over-the-Top Internet Video-to-TV

While the majority of consumers who watch online video today do so on a PC, the ultimate destination for much of this content will be the TV, according to ABI Research. I believe that once this disruptive transition gains momentum, discerning consumer viewing habits will evolve quickly as they engage with independently produced content from a vast array of web-TV sources. Mass-media companies will never be the same -- with diminished influence over advertisers; less able to deliver a captive audience; and less likely to be able to justify their high-budget productions. Big media company executives are cursing when they hear the words "media fragmentation" -- because their loss of relevance directly equates to a corresponding loss of market control. New players are actively enabling this disruptive force. Hardware vendors in the gaming console, media adapter, and set-top box space are working to develop solutions that enable delivery of video content from the public Internet a

Vendor Bonus: Online Entertainment Bonanza

As broadcast TV, movies, and other professionally produced (i.e. typically very high-budget) content gets moved onto the Internet, huge opportunities are emerging for vendors who provide hardware, bandwidth and services, according to In-Stat. The value of the annual infrastructure build-out for online entertainment services is expected to quintuple between 2007 and 2011, reaching more than $4.1 billion, the characteristically upbeat market research firm says. However, vendors may be the only members of the this ecosystem that see a meaningful profit from this high-stakes gamble. I believe that when this storyline has run its course, some big media companies may actually end up wondering how they invested so heavily without a clear understanding of where the potential for profit really exists. Perhaps they're right, that exploiting online entertainment is just the same as prior media distribution channels. Frankly, I'm not convinced it is the same. "Bandwidth is the largest

Satellite TV Providers Search for Broadband

Reuters reports that satellite television provider DirecTV Group may test delivering high-speed Internet service through power lines in a major U.S. city within the next year, its chief executive said. DirecTV and others are talking to companies that specialize in providing broadband through the electrical grid, Chief Executive Chase Carey said at the Reuters "Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit" in New York. "We're not the only ones talking to them," Carey said, in response to a question on whether DirecTV would consider a test in a major city. "I think you'll see some meaningful tests in this arena." DirecTV would like to test delivering Internet access on power lines in a "top 50 city where you're covering at least half the city." While DirecTV and fellow satellite TV operator EchoStar Communications Corp. have managed to keep increasing their subscriber base in the face of stiff competition from cable operators, Wal

Questioning Telco VoD-Only IPTV Services

For telcos across the world, providing video services is increasingly becoming a necessary evil, according to Pyramid Research. Many have already invested billions of dollars to roll out IPTV services that are intended to be at parity with existing pay-TV services. Network upgrades and content licensing take a significant amount of time as well. In the U.S., AT&T is investing $5.1 billion in infrastructure to extend its IPTV service to 19 million households by the end of 2008 -- which represents only 38 percent of leading cable company Comcast's household coverage today. A number of operators have instead opted to build their business models around Video on Demand (VoD) services alone. Encouraged by the growing demand for VoD services, some of these operators look to replace or complement broadcast TV with VoD. In March 2007, U.S. telco Qwest said it may go this route in order to introduce a video service sooner and lower the cost of network upgrades. However, Pyramid Research

UK Mobile Web Use Still Leads U.S. Market

Telephia and comScore announced the results of their latest study of mobile vs. PC-based Internet usage. The study reveals that 5.7 million people in the U.K. used a mobile device to access the Web during January 2007 compared to the 30 million people age 15 or older who accessed the Web from a PC ( either at home or at work). At 19 percent of the PC-based Internet audience, the U.K. Mobile Web market is slightly more developed on a relative basis than the U.S. Mobile Web market, where 30 million (or 17 percent) of the 176 million U.S. PC Web users accessed the Web from a mobile device during the same month. The Telephia and comScore research, MobileWeb Metrix, reveals that U.K. Mobile Web users under 35 years of age account for 67 percent of the entire Mobile Web audience in the U.K., whereas the same age segment accounts for 39 percent of the PC-based Internet audience. Research findings in the U.S. show that those under 35 account for 46 percent of the Mobile Web audience and 36.5 p

Active-TV Connects Online Video to Your TV

While there's plenty of buzz about proprietary solutions -- such as the recently launched Apple TV -- that extend the broadband video experience from the PC screen to the TV screen, open approaches have remained in the background. One example of an emerging open standards-based solution is the Active-TV model which is being championed by AMD, and a growing team of industry collaborators. Active-TV technology enables TV-web channels to be formatted and distributed to a TV. It allows Internet-based or personal-use videos, music and photos to be displayed on active-TV enabled televisions anywhere within the home. A PC browser plug-in sends the TV-web image to a networked set-top box (STB) for display on the TV. The TV-web content is accessed without a keyboard or mouse, only the TV IR remote control is required. Active-TV expands television viewing choices for both independent content producers and consumers. Content producers can now reach viewers directly without first going through

Misguided IPTV Offerings with Little Potential

Broadband service providers around the world are turning to IPTV to help them increase revenue and stand out from the crowd, but getting there won't be easy, says a new study from Infonetics Research. Among the many hurdles are the top three business challenges named by North American, Asia Pacific, and European service providers participating in Infonetics' study: - Competition from cable MSOs. - Profitability of video services. - Cost of video content. The percent of service provider revenue derived from IPTV and video is very small now, but will grow substantially over the next 2 years as the number of subscribers increases, the study predicts. In addition, IPTV providers just getting into the market will likely have low introductory pricing to lure subscribers away from their cable and satellite competitors. Infonetics believes that only when IPTV operators can add incremental services, such as video on demand (VOD), online gaming and exclusive content, will they be able

Reaching the Remaining Network TV Viewer

Broadband users are spending 48 percent -- approximately one hour and 40 minutes -- of their spare time online in a typical weekday and the trend is increasing across all age groups, according to research firm Media-Screen. Additionally, their report finds that when users are online, 54 percent of that time is spent accessing activities related to entertainment and communication -- which is hardly surprising news to anyone informed about the recent trends. A confirmation that mass-media has lost its appeal, and micro-media is further gaining in appeal, is perhaps the most noteworthy point. Media-Screen examined how and where broadband users access entertainment content and information online -- e.g. learn about new artists, buy related products, read reviews, use a program guide -- and finds that media habits of today's consumers have shifted in the wake of iTunes, YouTube, MySpace -- and all the other less popular, but equally valued, small independent entertainment-related sites.