Infonetics: IPTV operators turning up the heat

As the pay-TV industry becomes increasingly competitive, operators of managed IPTV services around the world are leveraging their IP networks to offer more advanced services such as multi-screen TV, content discovery and social networking, according to a new report from US firm Infonetics Research.

“Because it’s so challenging to differentiate on content, pay-TV providers are looking to stand out from their competitors by offering additional services and features, such as multi-screen viewing, social networking, and content discovery and recommendation services,” said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access and video at Infonetics Research.

“In particular, multi-screen video—“TV Everywhere” to some—is gaining momentum across all pay-TV operator types (cable, satellite, and IPTV) in all regions: 83% of the operators we interviewed plan to offer some type of multi-screen viewing—PC, smartphone, tablet—by 2013.”

It is still early days however for many of the IPTV operators surveyed: only a third of those polled currently offer social networking capabilities for the TV (and it now appears that many operators doubt whether viewers would use the full Twitter or Facebook experience on their telly, as many already seem to prefer using mobile devices).

Also, the majority of IPTV operators interviewed do not currently support video streaming services such as YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix – although this is bound to change as they seek to assimilate the growing threat of over-the-top services and bring them into their walled gardens.

Subscription video-on-demand (S-VOD) is identified as today’s money-maker among VOD offerings: 83% of respondents currently offer S-VOD for access to premium channels like HBO, Showtime and Starz, as well as libraries of first-run movies, and this is predicted to rise to 89% in 2013.

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