I got word last week that the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) may be relaxing some of its membership rules to allow IPTV providers to join. NCTC is one of the original aggregators of video content. Small cable companies formed NCTC to pool subscriber counts and get access to programming at rates that they could not get on their own. NCTC’s legacy has historically been tied to small cable companies. In the past ten years, small telephone companies wanted in on the video action as well and began joining NCTC to get access to cheaper programming. But those same telcos also competed with NCTC’s historical membership. The scuttlebutt is that the competitive threat posed by telcos caused NCTC to institute a new member moratorium in 2005. That moratorium created an opening for more telco focused content aggregators including NRTC and Telechannel.
Word now is NCTC is revisiting the moratorium. Telephony Online asked my opinion of this development, for which I commented that I wouldn’t be surprised if they allowed IPTV providers into the membership. NCTC, like any organization, needs sustainable growth, and telcos represent that growth. This issue is far from resolved and NCTC is being very vague about exactly what their new membership rules will be. I suspect that many NCTC members wouldn’t be keen on relaxing the moratorium, which creates somewhat of a conundrum for the organization itself. Keep existing members happy with the status quo, or think long term and open your doors to a growing market segment. Makes for some interesting board meetings I’m sure.
There are two events we’re involved with that are squarely focused on these and other telcoTV and IPTV issues. First is the TelcoTV Conference and Expo, coming up in November in Anaheim. TelcoTV is the premier event for the discussion of issues like this, and offers the largest solely focused exhibition of telcoTV solution providers of any conference in North America. Second, is a webcast we’re hosting on Thursday Sept. 11th, IPTV Content: Putting the Pieces in Place, sponsored by Avail Media. We’ll be discussing the importance of IPTV content and clarifying the different content rights issues. We’ll also have representatives from ESPN and Wealth TV to share their views on these important issues. I hope you can join us for both.