Monday, 24 May 2010

A realisation about the IPTV tech market

It struck me earlier today that the nascent market in unscheduled, IP-delivered TV is a bit atypical for a capital-intensive new product.

There are literally hundreds of different products that do the same thing. Each broadcaster has gone down their own path at great expense, and has been joined by aggregators and a few relatively small tech' players (Brightcove, ThePlatform and the ill-fated Maven Networks, to name three).

There is limited standardisation in technology or approach. I've talked to broadcasters, tech companies and Telcos - the future could be big, heavy infrastructure or a customer-centric interface with simple underpinnings. Even though the codecs are based on similar principles, they seem unique in flavour to each platform. The only thing they agree on is that 'on-demand' will one day be a larger proportion of viewing than linear. Incidentally, this is the only thing I'm convinced isn't true!

This has confused me for a while. Until today, when I talked to a big content creator, who explained it succinctly. The big players want to master the new form of delivery and monetisation themselves before they consider sharing or outsourcing it. Knowledge, it would seem, is worth more than industrial logic...

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