SES AMERICOM has . They’ve announced that effective July 31, 2009, “it will cease providing its IPTV service in North America – IP-PRIME…” SES had signed up approximately 70 or so telcos for the . It’s somewhat ironic that SES pulled the plug when they did, considering that just last week their CFO was touting progress at an industry meeting. He cited long term contracts with the 70 telcos and the “recession proof” nature of video services as proof positive of SES’s positive future outlook. Apparently, there were other internal views. “… with a subscriber base of less than ten thousand at the end of November and after more than 2 years of service, the consumer uptake is insufficient to justify continuing operations,” said Rob Bednarek, President and CEO of SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES in a company statement.

On the one hand, this is disappointing news. Anytime a high profile project as was, fails, it gives the entire industry somewhat of a black eye. This news may cause some telcos to be much more cautious about moving into IPTV. But on the other hand, it’s a positive move in that SES obviously didn’t have the stomach to continue. It’s better to get them out now, so their competitors who are committed over the long term can take up the slack and move the industry forward. Video is still a key part of the triple play bundle, and depending on individual market factors, telcos of all sizes will need it to effectively compete going forward. Losing IP Prime as an option hurts, but there are alternatives.

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16 thoughts on “No More IP Prime

  1. Bernie, great comments and insight. It’s unfortunate that SES decided to abandon the IPTV market both for the many talented people at IP-Prime, and the industry as a whole. The risk this shut down causes is that it will give service operators and investors yet another opportunity to “push pause” on the IPTV space. A lot of us have been waiting for the stars to align for IPTV. This event hurts everyone in the value-chain. That said, I remain bullish on the the IPTV space and believe it holds tremendous promise for operators, content owners and consumers.

  2. I agree Anthony – sends a bad signal – one that is probably unique to SES and their own expectations.

    Managing Editor, Telecompetitor

  3. Yes they do use IP prime. I think the big problem is with NSN Middleware. They have not been able to get a stable product out since the inception. None of their STBs that I know of are stable. I believe that 70 would have been larger if it could provide advanced services. That is the problem with a closed architecture between the STB and middleware platforms. You would find more stable products with an open architecture.

  4. As an employee of one of those 70 companies, it is going to *really* hurt. We found out about it through the media, not even a personal contact from SES.

    SES provided an affordable way to provide our customers with HD channels through their HD4 service, and now we are going to have to scramble to try to replace those streams within 6 or 7 months, and still remain competitive with the local cable monstrosity. Note that most cable companies have millions of customers, while most of the SES customers were obviously small telcos without the resources of the cable competitors and with tariffs to boot.

    SES had absolutely wonderful customer support while they were still working… It has slacked off quite a bit in the last week or so. They have obviously been told to back burner everything.

    So, anyone know of a viable alternative that has great customer service and response?

  5. Yeah, a couple of other telcos that we work with are using Avail… we are not really impressed with their customer service, and their MPEG4 streams are quite a ways away from the standard.

    Any other options out there?

  6. Get direct transport and share with neighboring telcos. Would hate to spend capital to switch – just to end up in the same situation.

  7. Why is this suprising? NRTC and SES basically copied the business plan of Eagle Broadband which already BKed. They were 6-9 months behind Eagle’s entre into the market. The model — below 5,000 subs — doesn’t work, for anyone. Period. My advice, if you are an IOC woried about the CableCo and think you need to provide video – go buy the CableCo. It will be cheaper and less of a hassle. Or, stick to your voice core competency and spend your time expanding a wireless 4G wireless solution.

  8. We use content from a variety of sources and Conklin-Intracom’s (fs|cdn) middleware. They have US based customer service and they have responded promptly to customer affecting outages. They interoperate with a variety of content and transport providers providing us with a relatively high comfort level that we can change content and / or transport either by choice or necessity. Hope this helps.

  9. yeah about that customer service. SES laid off anyone that had IP Prime attached to their title. it was a pleasure working with all of the IP Prime and HD4 customers. I voiced my concerns about leaving the telcos high and dry. I think it is a play to get investors to cough up money.

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