Making the case for IPTV in India

22 Dec 2008

Both DTH and IPTV offer integrated service providers the opportunity to further grow their revenue while meeting a latent demand of customers. To ensure the best economic gains, integrated service providers should holistically look at the customer base, segment it and then address the needs of this segmented customer base in the most optimal way based on the available options for service delivery. It appears that the DTH addressable market complements IPTV's customer segments and that IPTV has a higher potential to grow ARPU.

In India, the value chain (of content producers and aggregators, and service providers) is still evolving and one can see that the content creator could also become the content provider, and may choose to distribute the content using other channels of distribution.

The professionally developed content from the likes of Adlabs, STAR and ZEE can be delivered through any of the country's service providers to the home TV. However, this is workable only with IPTV providers that can offer interactive content like games video on demand; music on demand; e-learning; polling televoting karaoke and the delivery of user-generated content which users can potentially consume not only on the home TV but also on the mobile devices and personal computers. Anything less would only provide limited interactivity on cable and DTH networks.

DTH service makes business sense in four cases:

  • When both broadband and physical backbone networks are not available.
  • When economies of subscriber scale exist, allowing the DTH service to be scaled-up gracefully as the fixed cost is the satellite link, which decreases for every subscriber as the number of subscribers increase.
  • When there is a need to access a sparsely populated region or a dispersed population, such as in semi-urban or rural areas.
  • When there is a need to reduce the technology risk and to speed up time to market while countering the video service offered from the local cable operator (LCO)/multi service operator.

On the other hand, IPTV makes business sense when:

  • the telco has a wireline operation and is a broadband provider. IPTV becomes a revenue stream as the operator plans to fills the pipes to the homes with revenue generating services.
  • cable operators wish to offer interactive services to their customers.

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