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IPTV Subscription Goals Climbing as Services Target U.S. College Audience

By | October 8, 2008

      The number of subscribers to IPTV services is expected to rise by more than 64 percent in 2008, as revenue generated for telecoms soars by 93.5 percent, according to a study released by independent analysis firm Gartner Inc.
          Gartner’s report predicts that the IPTV global subscriber base will increase to 19.6 million from 12 million in 2007 and revenue will grow to $4.5 billion from $2.3 billion. At the end of 2008, 1.1 percent of households worldwide will be IPTV subscribers. The report also states that by 2012, global household penetration is expected to be 2.8 percent and that revenue will total $19 billion.
      In 2007, Gartner was just as optimistic about the potential of IPTV. However, the subscriber base did not reach its intended mark. Gartner predicted that IPTV subscribers would more than double in 2007 from an expected 6.4 million in 2006 to 13.3 million. At the time, Gartner claimed that established cable and satellite services would make it a struggle to turn IPTV into a mainstream pay-TV service.
          “Before 2008, the IPTV operators’ emphasis had been to spread their footprint and effectively provide a ‘me too’ solution to cable and satellite,” Gartner analyst Elroy Jopling said. “In the future, especially in the developed markets, we will see an emphasis on innovation and differentiated pay-TV services.”
          With pressure on IPTV services to increase subscription rates over time, where will telecoms develop their niche in the market? Recently announced distribution deals show that emphasis on innovative services is being quietly targeted to a specific audience — college students.
          Students at Brown University in Providence, R.I., will rely solely on IPTV for their television and Internet services starting in 2009. The move to IPTV was, according to university officials, in response to the campus’ decaying cable infrastructure that was deemed more expensive to fix rather than implementing a new service.
          National Lambdarail Network (NLR), a U.S.-based high-speed national computer network infrastructure that runs over fiber-optic lines, and the Open Television Student Network (OTSN), a provider of educational and foreign language IPTV content and student-produced programming, will deliver Brown University’s IPTV offering. In 2007, NLR announced a partnership with OSTN to deliver IPTV programming to 150 universities and research institutions with more than 10 million end users.
          “One of the challenges that visionary researchers face is transferring knowledge through education on their discoveries to researchers, students and the public,” said Tom West, NLR’s president and CEO. “[The service] is undoubtedly going to increase opportunities to deliver high-performance packages of public, foreign language and entertainment channels over NLR and our members’ regional networks and provide an exciting new channel for educational programming online.”
      NLR members include Cisco Systems, NASA, Pacific Northwest Gigapop and a list of major universities and colleges. 
          “Every NLR-connected college, university and K through 12 school now has unprecedented access to content from sources across the globe,” Prashant Chopra, OSTN’s CEO, said. Students now have the opportunity to submit content to     OSTN, which will be delivered to millions of peers.”
      IPTV is not just hitting universities in terms of entertainments. Over the next year, Boston College said it plans to pilot Voice Over IP technologies along with an IPTV deployment that would provide expanded video-on-demand services over the campus network by using Enterasys’ solutions to classify, prioritize and secure the voice and video communications. Additionally, a wireless network infrastructure is being designed to support wireless services to students in residence halls.

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