Content remains major issue for IPTV providers: seminar

NEW DELHI: The industry is hyping IPTV in India as the next revolution, but has actually done little on the content side, said former member of Telecom Regulatory of India (Trai), DPS Seth.

Speaking here today at IPTV India 2006 conference, organised by Bharat Exhibitions, Seth disagreed with some of the speakers before him saying that people who have been talking about IPTV have "failed to address the issue of content," which could be delivered through IPTV.

A certain section of the industry, especially the telecom companies have touted IPTV as a technology ready to ready to change the way Indians have been watching television.

With its advantages over the current cable and satellite TV technologies, IPTV can be typically bundled with other services like video-on-demand (VOD), voice over IP (VoIP), or digital phone, and Web access, which are collectively called triple play.

But, asked Seth, not many have given a thought to the type of content that should be generated to be delivered over this triple play platform.

Seth?'s argument was that unless the content issue is addressed -- especially as in this segment content has to be customized -- IPTV may languish.

A report by Multimedia Research predicts that IPTV adoption worldwide will grow from 1.9 million users in 2004 to 25.3 million in 2008 and that the service provider revenue from IPTV is likely to jump from $ 635 million to 7.2 million by 2008.

Various speakers at today's IPTV seminar harped on strategies to tap this opportunity in India as the consumer is getting increasingly demanding.

Some of the pertinent questions that were raised during the day-long conference were the following:

What should be the policy framework that will govern IPTV in India?
How will the interdependence between various service, technology and hardware providers work?
Will it require further expansion of broadband spectrum?
What are the operational challenges that would be faced by service providers in transforming their existing businesses models to the one suiting IPTV?

Key panelists included Airtel CTO (mobility) Jagbir Singh, Sun Microsystems director (telecom) Kapil Sood, URStarcom director sales K K Peringhat, Alcatel South Asia Ltd vice president and head of sales, India, Fixed Communications Group Anuj Kapur, BSNL director (planning and new services) RL Dube and Siemens Public Communication Networks (Pvt.) Ltd MD Michael Kuehner.

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