UPDATED: US research firm ABI Research is predicting a roller coaster of a ride for the TV middleware market following some big recent changes, such as the proposed acquisition of NDS by Cisco.
Nagra has long held a dominant share of the TV middleware market (25% worldwide in 2011), followed closely by NDS with 24% market share worldwide, then Motorola with a 19% share of the North American market and Cisco with 11% of the same, according to ABI Research.
However, all this is set to change as Cisco waits for its bid for NDS to close (expected in early August 2012), while Google has yet to give a clear indication of its plans for Motorola Mobility.
“Operators are reluctant to significantly change direction with the current uncertainty, except where they decide to bring middleware development in-house,” according to Sam Rosen, practice director, TV & video at ABI Research.
The Cisco-NDS and Google-Motorola acquisitions, together with the increasing role of traditional IPTV vendors such as Orca Interactive (now Viaccess-Orca, a France Telecom subsidiary), point the way to a future where the middleware provider offers an open software platform with key features, while operators can innovate experiences using common software techniques, according to the research firm.
Editor’s view: The TV middleware market currently supports a large number of players, and the longevity of the smaller ones looks likely to hinge on how open they are willing to be, as ABI Research suggests above.
The larger providers – such as Thomson, Alcatel-Lucent, ZTE and Microsoft, to name but a few – will certainly be affected by this consolidation of Cisco-NDS and Google-Motorola, but I suspect it will be the smaller ones who are the hardest hit, and who will be forced to lean most heavily on the industry partnerships they have (hopefully) built up.