IPTV in India- Part I

4 06 2009

Latest report says that state own BSNL & MTNL will roll out their IPTV services across India, soon. By this move, BSNL/MTNL will be directly competiting with private DTH players for television space. Also, they will be looking for increasing  Broadband subscriber base through television medium, which currently stands at dismal 6.4 million. 

BSNL & MTNL are rolling out their IPTV services through Delhi based franchise named Smart Digivision. ‘My Way’ as it is called, will be launched in 54 cities-largest IPTV launch in country in period of three months. But real question lies-will the launch be a success? What are the issues involved in launch of IPTV services? Is their any immediate threat for DTH providers? Let’s explore the IPTV space in detail!

IPTV, which stands for Internet Protocol Television, is a technology for delivering digital television service via a broadband connection using Internet protocols.  Designed to compete with cable and satellite technology, IPTV is broadly deployed in Europe, especially France, and is gaining momentum in the US and Asia/Pacific markets.

Now according to ABI research, a pioneer body in market research, which says that number of IPTV subscribers worldwide will increase about 32 percent by 2014, to a total of almost 79 million customers.  ABI anticipates growth in fairly mature markets like Europe, but also in emerging — and extremely promising — markets like South Korea and China (No India?). The leading service providers in world , ‘lliad of France’ & ‘Verizon of US’, who earlier estimated that growth in number of subscribers will be around 90 million, but due to market recession the estimate has come down by nearly one million count. So in short, the market isn’t going to be very favorable for IPTV service provider, though there will be around 32% growth by 2014.

The main advantage of providing IPTV services is that Operators can offer –Triple Play services i.e. TV, Internet & Telephone services, all for one competitive price, as compared to traditional cable TV or DTH services (Also called as satellite services).  My Way launch is different is few aspects. First of all, the geography of launch is huge in one go i.e. 54 cities across India. Second the two state owned companies have large pool of wire line subscribers compared to private players. The total number of wireline subscribers of two state own entities are approx 33 million as compared to 4.5 million subscribers of private players. So the difference is huge, but still will it make a difference?

Now coming back to IPTV, it is often confused with Internet Television, but actually both are different services. IPTV is digital television service delivered over a closed IP network while Internet TV is delivered over public Internet. Though IPTV has been in existence for past few years, it took off during 2007 with fairly rapid increase in usage around the globe.

Continued:

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