As the industry prepares for the IP&TV Forum Eastern Europe event, taking place in Istanbul, we speak to Steve McCaffery, Vice President and General Manager of the Home Business EMEA unit at Motorola Mobility.
The greatest challenge is actually simplifying the IPTV proposition
What stage do you perceive the IPTV market in Eastern Europe & EurAsia to have reached?
IPTV services are beginning to establish themselves in the region and we perceive the focus to be on improving service quality, increasing the addressable subscriber base, and competing with broadcast services. Both “managed IPTV” and “over-the-top” offerings have emerged.
Currently we are engaged in projects to improve video quality caused by packet loss and in projects that enable interactive on-demand experiences. Beyond these projects, there is growing interest in extending video services beyond the TV screen to mobile devices and in managing and promoting rapidly expanding on-demand libraries.
How quickly do you think the region will migrate to all-IP delivery?
The migration is underway. Ultimately all IP delivery is dependent on the ubiquitous availability of high-speed broadband. To some degree, the region is at an advantage in this regard, in comparison to more established markets. The significant historical investment in one way broadcast wireline technologies that took place in western Europe and the US never really happened at scale, so where two-way networks are deployed it makes sense to go straight to all IP. There is much less of an evolutionary step to be migrated through.
In addition, consumers in the region are leapfrogging the established markets in terms of expectations for on demand, personalised and interactive content. This too is pulling through the demand for all IP. According to research commissioned by Motorola, 44% of respondents in Turkey have already used social networks, chat services or email to discuss what they were watching on TV, in real time... and this rises to 56% for the 16-24 age group. Clearly this is a generation that craves interactivity if these figures can be reached in such an early stage of market evolution.
Is there an immediate market in the region for advanced services such as TV Everywhere and Whole Home DVR?
Absolutely, European research conducted by Motorola back in February 2010 looked at attitudes towards video content access and consumption. One of the key findings of the report (which looked at 3,400 consumers across five markets) was that there is a strong demand for content being delivered anytime and anywhere. Additionally, DVR penetration across the five markets is over 50%. This alone gives a clear indication as to the demand for these types of advanced services What challenges do you think remain to increasing take-up of IPTV in the region?
I think the greatest challenge is actually simplifying the IPTV proposition. While the Internet era of television undoubtedly offers real opportunities for service providers, the fragmentation of the media landscape can prove confusing for consumers. Not only are there a vast array of new channels for content, these channels are offering a range of new services based around IPTV. The challenge therefore is an industry one.
Platform developers, like Motorola, are tasked with developing content architectures that allow service providers to quickly and cost effectively deploy new IP-based products and services, while the service providers themselves have to package them and sell them to consumers in an attractive manner. With broadband penetration rates across Europe forever on the increase, issues around capacity and connectivity are giving way to the challenges of actually getting consumers to buy into these new services.
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