The intersection of broadband and entertainment has never been more evident. Yet while evident, the business case and implications for carriers are somewhat cloudy. There used to be very distinct lines. Service providers were traditional video providers through IPTV, or cable, or maybe even satellite partnerships. Most were also ISPs. Now the lines are blurring.
Traditional video provider or not, if you offer broadband, you’re in the entertainment business, whether you want to be or not. Your subscribers are putting you there through their broadband usage habits.
This intersection of broadband and entertainment is driving much innovation and change in our industry. Here are a few examples:
- A number of broadband carriers are launching their own Roku channels that feature local broadcast channels and local content offerings, pairing it with OTT content for a new emerging broadband TV product.
- DISH is reportedly about to launch a ‘virtual MSO’ service, rumored to be called nutv, that provides Internet delivered video of traditional cable channels, targeting cord cutters.
- According to LRG, traditional cable companies collectively now have more broadband subscribers than video subscribers.
- Video streaming consumption via broadband is just about equal in terms of time spent on traditional TV viewing, according to Ericsson Labs.
- Nearly half of all U.S. households now subscribe to a pay OTT video service, reports LRG.
- Video consumption is not just about traditional TV entertainment anymore. Amazon just paid close to a billion dollars for Twitch, which allows subscribers to watch video game play.
- By 2017, IDC predicts connected gamers, those who use broadband connected game consoles to play games and watch video, will reach 165 million.
The common denominator in all of the above is a broadband pipe. Broadband carriers are now tasked with not only delivering a quality broadband experience that enables all of the above, but determining monetization strategies to capitalize on these trends. That’s where the cloudiness comes in.
A Vision for Broadband and Entertainment
As chair of the upcoming BroadbandVision show, I’m working closely with our partners NTCA, ITTA, and a ‘who’s who’ of broadband industry leaders to bring some clarity to the monetization question. While not our only focus (we have a comprehensive broadband carrier ecosystem-driven program) here are some ways we’re attempting to do that:
- For the emerging and promising broadband TV trend, we have two sessions focused on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how to do it and a case study of a broadband carrier who has launched this service.
- We have key thought leaders from the broadband and video ecosystems who will share great insight on how this intersection impacts broadband carriers, including: the GM of content and devices for Roku, Steve Shannon; SVP at Synacor, Michael Bishara, who is largely credited as the force behind the successful launch of HBO GO; the CEO of the National Cable Television Cooperative Rich Fickle, who leads programming aggregation efforts for 950 cable operators; and Steve Cochran, President & CEO of leading broadband carrier WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone.
- We have participation from companies who are powering many of these emerging applications including social TV app developer RelayTV; TV Everywhere specialist Synacor; broadband TV enablers EZ Video, Elemental Technologies, SkitterTV, and Dascom Systems Group; and a host of exhibitors who offer solutions for broadband carriers trying to capitalize on entertainment opportunities.
- A case study of Atlantic Broadband, who has decided to embrace OTT video, and who features Netflix as a channel.
- A close look at the connected home, with expert discussion from the HomeGrid Forum, the HomePlug Alliance, and MoCA.
We certainly don’t profess to have all the answers. But the broadband industry is convening in Las Vegas in about a month at BroadbandVision to collectively discuss, network, and discover best practices for broadband network monetization success. It’s an important stop on your broadband journey, and we hope to see you there.