TelcoTV: Focused content will help indie telcos stick out

The challenge for any telco building an IPTV business, especially a smaller independent telco that wants to compete with cable, is that they often fall into the trap of offering nothing more than me-too service (VOD and HDTV). However, a morning workshop at this week's TelcoTV show illustrated that independent telcos can find real differentiation over cable and satellite by offering their customers focused content.

And while individually-focused advertising is still a future game, independent telcos could in the near term differentiate their IPTV offerings by carrying local business ads and the local high school basketball games. Of course, the telco would need to lock up local content rights before the cable guys decide to offer similar services.

At issue for many smaller operators is their ability to get the right content agreements in place and finding a middleware platform that fits their business model. Members of the content supply industry (Avail Media and the National Telco Television Consortium) and middleware (Microsoft) talked about how smaller telcos now have a host of new options for middleware and content. Interestingly, Microsoft, which initially focused primarily on large telcos with Mediaroom, has now developed a platform that's more palatable to a smaller telco.

The panel also suggested that having video service in their holster allowed them to effectively compete especially against cable, which is finding continued success in bundling voice and data with their well-entrenched video service offerings. "Having broadband Internet access and voice is not enough to retain installed base and attract new customers," Kim Chandler, director of solutions marketing for Alcatel-Lucent during the panel. "Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies are seeing much more intense competition from service providers and satellite companies alike."

For more:
- see this Light Reading article

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