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Broadband Delivered Video
The official launch of the BBC's i-Player in the UK during Christmas 2007 was a very public launch for a distribution method that has been evolving over the past few years. Illegal peer-to-peer video sharing of music and movies commonplace in many broadband markets, particularly markets where broadband downloads are not 'capped' , but broadband video is now becoming a mainstream and a legitimate way for broadcasters to reach consumers. So what will its impact be? How should broadcasters, telcos, cable and satellite networks and content rights owners respond to this emerging marketplace?
In the US and the UK, broadband delivered video is a way to re-engage with audiences who are spending more and more time online. Broadcasters can re-engage lost audiences, or audiences looking for more convenience in their viewing, with a mix of both high-quality live streaming and peer-to-peer downloading of legitimate content, where viewers can watch what they want, when they want it.
Whether it is packaged as VOD, 'Catch-Up-TV' , 'Online Video' or 'TV Gemist' (Netherlands) Peer-to-Peer PC based VOD platforms are being used by major broadcasters such as ABC, NBC, ITV, TF1, Channel Four, Channel Five and others to reach new audiences and generate new revenues. It is a response to changing consumer behaviours just as much as it is a way of exploiting new business models and it is redefining the TV distribution environment and also the business models of Pay TV.
The response of traditional broadcasters is a timely one, since online video also enables content owners and the studios to market direct to the consumer if they want to, wherever they are in the world. Whoever is the most successful at engaging audiences and monetising content across there different platforms will be the overall winner.
For now, the business models around online video are wide and varied. Broadcasters can continue to fund content based on advertising revenue, sticking with their traditional business practices, or they play with new concepts such as pre-roll advertising. With the ubiquity of credit and debit cards, and the normalisation of card payment and online transactions in many markets, broadcasters can, for the first time, act like a Pay TV operator and charge for accessing selected content if they wish, without having to deploy conditional access and set-top-box hardware into the home.
BSkyB uses its Peer-to-Peer service to achieve a number of objectives. Sky Anytime PC (Part of a range of multi-platform 'Anytime' products allows Sky to show its technology leadership and offers consumers an alternative device within the home to enjoy Sky's content.
Sky Anytime PC allows Sky's customers to access a library of 500+ movies and other content effectively 'on-demand' with most movies downloading in less than an hour with even the most basic broadband connection and since its launch in January 2006, Sky's customers have downloaded over two million films using the service.
Sky Anytime PC competes with cable's marketing messages around their virtually unlimited library of content on-demand, but at the same time it is ensuring Sky remain the content aggregator and the rights holder in the UK for all other devices, not just the set-top-box.
But it is also clear from the evolution of the Anytime product and the Sky website that Sky Anytime for PC is just a part of a multi-platform content delivery strategy which the broadcaster is very actively persuing.
For more information on how content owners, channels and operators around the world are developing broadband video products, please email email@example.com
Over 1 million users for iPlayer since its official launch on December 25th 2007, and more than 3.5 million programme viewings by mid January 2008.