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Monday, December 05, 2005

IPTV - the opportunity for IMS to show its commercial value

The boom in interest and activity around IPTV could provide the filip that IMS needs to get properly on the radar of senior commercial management at major Operators. IMS has the potential to enable a uniform service delivery for IPTV from which everyone in the telco value chain benefits.

In my recent web trawl for IPTV news and articles - to support our focus on a hot IPTV-related IMS-enabled service that we describe in November's IMS Insider Report (www.ims-insider.com) - I found a huge breadth of activity. Our view (see Friday's posting about the 'IP Revenue Scorecard') is that telcos will not win in the world of IPTV unless they leverage their core strengths and integrate communication and messaging and personalisation elements into their IPTV-related services to create compelling and valueable customer propositions. Just trying to ape the broadcasters just won't work.

Here are some examples of what's going on around IPTV at present. More analysis on this to come:
  1. Telekom Austria is readying a budget of Euro800m ($943m) for its soon-to-launch IPTV service, aonDigital TV. Helmut Leopold, Head of Platform and Technology Management at Telekom Austria told TVI Daily: "Ahead of launch we now reach 80% of Austrian homes. When the service launches at the start of next year we will launch 45 free-to-air channels and 15 premium channels."
  2. Shanghai IPTV service launched: Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Telecom have jointly launched broadband-based TV service in Shanghai. The IPTV network is planned to cover Minhang District and Pudong New Area where millions of people live. The service will charge 60 yuan (E6.28) a month. The companies are trying to reach 10,000 subscribers within the year and expand the network to cover the whole city in the middle of 2006.
  3. Telecom Italia’s Alice Home IPTV service brings movies, sport, news and music down the telephone line into people’s homes, along with broadband websurfing. Telecom Italia’s TV on the Internet (IPTV - Internet Protocol TV), enables access to movies, sports, news, music and Internet content directly via the TV at home. After the successful trial of the service in around a thousand Italian households, Alice Home TV will be launched in 4 cities across Italy (Rome, Milan, Bologna and Palermo), reaching over 2 million households.


All the major NEPs and non-traditional suppliers to telecom operators are offering solutions to enable this.

A huge amount of content is available for IPTV, and the operator 3 in Italy has even bought a TV channel to produce content specifically for its IPTV offering:

3 Italia Buys TV Broadcaster: Now First Euro Hybrid Mobile TV Co

In a sure sign that TV to the mobile is the new European media battleground, 3G mobile operator 3 Italia have announced its plans to purchase the Italian national broadcaster, Canale 7. Reports have put the price of the acquisition at between €30-35m.

The addition of Canale 7, Italy’s fourth largest broadcaster, gives the company access to the country's existing home TV business. Canale 7 currently broadcasts in analogue to around 40% of Italy, predominantly its north. More interestingly, it also has a terrestrial digital TV nationwide network operator's license. This should provide coverage for over 70% of the country.

It is expected that 3 Italia will work to develop a Pay-TV and interactive services proposition for handhelds. We also understand their intention would be for Canale 7's nationwide digital project to be integrated with 3 Italia's UMTS mobile network to create a DVB-H network.

The company intends to offer a DVB-H mobile TV service from the second half of 2006. Indications are that there will be a minimum of 20 channels, although no line up has yet been decided. 3 Italia already carries Playboy adult entertainment and football via existing technology, and has worked with Mediaset and News Corp's Sky Italia pay-TV operator.

Operator 3 Italy's screen shots:


Watch this space for more commentary on IPTV and IMS

The Editor

editor@ims-insider.com


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