Somewhat ironically, I had only just returned home from the Content Delivery Networks Asia 2012 conference in Hong Kong – where telco CDN’s were touted as the solution to the great telco versus OTT battle – when I read that Korean market giant KT had decided to cut off access for OTT content for Samsung’s connected TVs using its broadband network.
Some Korean delegates at the CDN Asia 2012 event had been arguing that KT’s move into the CDN business, a move it has taken in partnership with local CDN player Solution Box, meant that the firm was now less likely to clash with OTT players such as Samsung and LG.
This argument was basically centred on the fact that deploying its own CDNs gave KT the power to generate revenues from the connected TV manufacturers OTT content services by striking mutually beneficial CDN deals with them. This argument makes a lot of sense in theory, but has now been proven at least momentarily incorrect.
KT has initially decided to block OTT content going to Samsung’s connected TV sets and has warned it will take the same action against LG Electronics if the manufacturer does not begin paying carriage costs.
KT has viewed connected TV services as a critical issue ever since the devices began arriving in the market. Back in May 2010, when connected TVs had a tiny presence in the market, KT’s IPTV top brass told me that the looming impact of connected TVs on their broadband access and IPTV businesses was their number one concern.
However, as recently as last November in my discussions with top level KT officials in Seoul they had been claiming that removing OTT connected TV traffic from their network would be a last resort measure, and were still hopeful of striking a deal with the connected TV players.