Cooney Determined to Grow Ericsson Brand in Satellite, IPTV Markets
Eric Cooney, head of TV solutions at Ericsson, wants to expand the Ericsson brand name into the satellite community. Cooney, the CEO of Tandberg Television when it was acquired by Ericsson in February 2007, has been tasked with developing the IPTV market for Ericsson, but he believes the company also can grow the already large satellite revenue base that Tandberg had developed.
“We very clearly want to elevate the Ericsson brand into the traditional Tandberg Television markets, and whether Tandberg Television remains as a brand name is still yet to be determined,” Cooney said. “Our focus is to migrate the perception and the awareness of Ericsson in the context of the television space. DirecTV, for example, are increasingly aware of the Ericsson brand and name.”
At IBC 2008, Ericsson unveiled a new IMS integrated IPTV middleware solution that will enable telcos to deploy personalized and advanced interactive TV solutions, “delivering individual TV experiences” to end users, said Cooney. The launch customer for the service will be Portuguese telco Sonaecom.
At the same time Ericsson wants to offer a number of the same capabilities to its satellite customer base. “I think DirecTV is a great example,” Cooney said. “With the launch of their on-demand service, essentially what they do is they take advantage of the satellite distribution and put an Ethernet connection on the [personal video recorder] that gives you Internet access. They have developed a quite strong user interface with some pretty compelling features. They have 4,000 titles of content available. They have created some graphical user interfaces. There is a great search function. Tandberg Television is providing technologies for workflow automation, asset management and ingest creation to enable that on-demand offering for operators like DirecTV.”
Cooney believes that not everyone is aware exactly what Ericsson can offer satellite pay-TV operators in terms of software. “Most people mistakenly think of us as a software provider targeting cable or IPTV,” he said. “That is actually not the case, but rather we are developing as many applications targeting satellite providers as well as targeting content providers. So there are next generation [video-on-demand] solutions, workflow automation, tighter integration across some of these applications, etc. You will see things like the linking of metadata from the point of the on-demand asset creation through to the point where it goes to the consumers, so you can enable search packages and search and find applications. We can do this for satellite operators as well as the cable and IPTV operators.”
While Ericsson is looking to develop its IPTV business, Cooney expects satellite customers to generate the majority of the company’s revenues for a considerable time. “The telecoms operators are expected to be high growth in the near future,” he said. “Satellite represents the largest portion of our business today, and we expect that to remain the case for many years to come. The absolute growth rates are smaller in satellite, but the majority of our business comes from there.
“It takes time. It was over a year ago that the Tandberg Television was acquired, but I think at some point in the future there will not be any perceptual difference between Ericsson and Tandberg in our customers’ mind,” said Cooney.