APAC IPTV experience bodes ill for Google fiber TV

Tony Brown/Informa Telecoms and Media
31 Jul 2012

Based on our lengthy experience studying IPTV deployments in the cutting edge FTTH markets of the Asia Pacific region, Informa Telecoms & Media believes that with its current content line-up Google’s Fiber TV IPTV service will struggle to displace established pay TV operators from homes in its Kansas City FTTH network area.

As things stand, although Google Fiber TV has brought on board many popular cable channels it is still missing many key channels – including crucial premium content such as ESPN and HBO – a shortcoming which could be critical in the fight for market dominance.

The experience of IPTV players in mature high-speed Asian broadband markets such as Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan is that it is near impossible to push incumbent pay TV operators out of subscriber homes unless you are able to replicate or even better their existing content platforms.

The best example of this is Korea Telecom (KT) which has deployed a huge war chest on rolling out IPTV – and has actually reached 3.5 million IPTV subscribers – but has failed to dislodge cable TV as subscribers' primary TV service because KT’s service is still missing several critical channels.

It is a similar story in Taiwan for Chunghwa Telecom whose IPTV service has reached 1.2 million subscribers but has made minimal impact as a replacement for cable TV because, like KT, it has been unable to secure access to a host of leading channels.

As a result, the IPTV services of both KT and CHT have been relegated to secondary connections, acting mainly as a means for viewers to watch VOD and catch-up content.

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