The Internet and wireless communications have had a major impact on the consumption of video content. TV operators no longer can think of just offering services via a single device at a set time and now have to think about whether to extend into mobile and other delivery methods.
Big-name operators such as France Telecom (Orange) and DirecTV are among those leading the transition to becoming multi-faceted content providers, adopting more complex strategies to meet the changing needs of the consumer. Orange’s “Content Everywhere” strategy “means serving the customer on all the different terminals: PC, TV, mobile and in whatever form and using whatever networks are available,” says Herve Payan, senior vice president of content services. “That is quite important. Last year, we managed to get our first full offers on all of these different screens. There have also been some interesting discussions recently by the executives of Time Warner and Disney on this whole issue of content on different platforms. … As part of our strategy, we have also decided to reach the maximum number of customers on all these different networks, whether it is delivering pure IPTV or ADSL, which we started in 2003. We are doing this in Poland and Spain and other smaller countries. We have around 2 million IPTV subscribers in France. We have another 400,000 subscribers who are using a hybrid solution of satellite and IP.”
DirecTV is using its established brand and buying power to make sure it is relevant on all platforms. As part of the extension of its contract for broadcasting NFL (American football) games, DirecTV subscribers who cannot see games via satellite will be allowed to access them via broadband connections. A special channel that provides live glimpses of all games during scoring opportunities, now is available via cable, telco and satellite systems, wireless devices, and the Internet, showing the changing nature of content rights agreements.
DirecTV also is leading the way in terms of on-demand as it looks to cater to the needs of the next generation of video user. “Everyone one of our customers who has an HD PVR is able to access these services,” says DirecTV CTO Romulo Pontual. “When compared to cable providers, the major difference is that DirecTV has large storage in the homes and a large broadcast pipe that reaches all 50 states. Broadcast is the most efficient way to deliver content to multiple consumers. A smart product that can benefit from the broadcast pipe and local storage creates significant value.