We speak to Ather Baig, Senior Engineer of IP networks for Pakistani telco PTCL, about rivalry with cable operators, the challenges which developing nations face in ensuring optimal TV services, and how he believes IPTV can be successfully monetised in Pakistan.
What do you believe are some of the main points to be learnt from more advanced IPTV players in the Asia region?
Today where conventional cable systems still have strong roots in the industry, people are looking for add-on features with IPTV which do not compromise their current experience of low cost, fast channel switching and multiple channels with the same cable on multiple TV sets in their home.
IPTV operators in developing countries are striving to introduce basic IPTV technology and compete with conventional cable systems. Conventional cable operators have enmity towards IPTV technology.
All major IPTV operators are moving to an OTT-enabled environment, where the hand-off among different screens will create more business, as with every passing day video services are becoming personalised. More advanced IPTV players in the Asia region can assist with all of the above areas.
What do you believe are the greatest challenges that developing nations face in ensuring optimal TV services?
Assurance of end-to-end optimal infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges that developing nations face. Right from the IPTV headend to the access network and set-top box, there are many objects in line which need to be secure in order to provide optimal and uninterrupted services.
Consumer awareness of content rights and finding ways to monetise local content are among biggest challenges. Video is currently driving the entire broadband industry, and accounts for the majority of international data traffic.
Now when all of the traffic downloaded from advanced countries is charged per transaction based on upload and download, then the future of OTT in these countries will become a question mark.
How do you think IPTV can be successfully monetised in Pakistan?
Pakistan’s cable operators control a huge proportion of the market, something like 98%. Communicating the concept of a centralised headend, and of IP video itself, to analogue cable operators will help pave the way. Regulatory authorities (PEMRA in the case of Pakistan) should also look for new policies which assist the introduction of new technologies.
Ather will be speaking at the Broadband IP&TV Asia 2012 event, taking place in Malaysia on 15th-16th May. For more information and to register, please visit http://asia.broadbandworldforum.com