Yankee Group: IPTV will be 'game-changer'

March 7, 2008 -- The industry research firm predicts that by 2011, more than 9 million US households will subscribe to telco-provided video service.

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March 7, 2008 -- A report from Yankee Group suggests that IPTV will redefine pay TV in the United States. According to the industry research firm, "IPTV will change the competitive landscape for subscription services by morphing the service from one-size-fits-all traditional broadcast TV into an open, flexible, customizable offering, tailored to the needs of local communities." The firm projects that by 2011, more than 9 million households in the US will subscribe to telco-provided video service.

According to the firm, IPTV's influence in the communications field and on consumer communications services in the US is driven by the impact of the global connectivity revolution on business and market dynamics. As a result, says the firm, we are witnessing massive transformations taking place in media and entertainment and communications industries. With the digitization of content and the internet as a platform, both industries are morphing from structured, linear ecosystems to open and fluid sectors influenced by greater consumer control.

"IPTV will forever alter the video ecosystem by creating not only a new breed of service, but also a new breed of service provider," says Vince Vittore, Yankee Group program manager, Enabling Technologies. "The phone company of the past -- the 800-pound gorilla -- is dead. IPTV will transform telcos from the market-dominating gorillas they once were, to street fighting guerrillas."

The report, titled "From Gorillas to Guerrillas, IPTV Changes Everything," posits that IPTV will also forever transform how telcos operate. The firm says the technology will take the service providers from being highly centralized, giant corporations to becoming decentralized, flexible entities that can respond much more rapidly to the specific needs of the communities they serve. In addition to the share-shifting that will take place among cable, satellite and telcos in the video market, the report says that there will be more fundamental changes, among them:

* IPTV will change the organizational structure of telcos.
* IPTV will create micro-markets of intense local competition in the US surrounded by wide swaths of territory where cable operators face only satellite competition.
* IPTV will change the way applications are developed for TV.
* IPTV will force the cable companies to become more dynamic and responsive.

"IPTV changes the rules of the game for the consumer communications services in the US," adds Anton Denissov, a Yankee Group analyst. "To become guerrillas, telcos must shift executive authority to local management. Those that do not have the flexibility will lose out to the competition."

The report, coauthored by Vittore and Denissov, also provides comprehensive recommendations for IPTV providers and cable operators.


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