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Home Blog Telco’s : if you can’t beat DTT, at least get on the bandwagon

Telco’s : if you can’t beat DTT, at least get on the bandwagon

[lang_en]After launching IP-only boxes in France in 2003, Orange started to included DTT tuners in all its boxes from 2006. So at the launch of DTT in France some Orange customers already had an IP/DTT hybrid box before DTT coverage had actually reached their home.

But in France, when excited neighbours came to say they had a DTT box ready, an IPTV subscriber could answer back with their digital TV line-up that was already available with VoD also. Orange’s head start over DTT meant that most IPTV subscribers still today watch mainly IP channels despite the back that the box can receive and decode DTT. Orange, like its French competitors Free, SFR, Darty and the new entrant Bouygues now offer some exclusive channels which are not part of the national DTT line-up for free.

DTT rolls out in built up areas first and so it wasn’t until 2007 that a significant amount of subscribers were inside the DTT footprint without being eligible to IPTV. By then Orange had its hybrid IP/satellite offering ready and has been quite successful with it as they can also reach they still grey areas of DTT coverage.up

For the more mature operators DTT has been both an opportunity and a threat. The threat was of course of loosing customers to more reliable and cheap non-connected DTT zappers. The opportunity was of having a piece of a very much larger cake.

In a market where analogue TV is still predominant, the promise of IPTV is harder to sell. But once the whole market is moving towards digital anyway, customers can be easier to hoax towards the charms of interactivity that will always be IPTV’s strong suit like with an enhanced interactive EPG or community and communication widgets.

Despite being a positive influence overall, DTT brings a thorn into customers support centres. Bad DTT Reception can cost hybrid IPTV operators a lots of customer support money.

But what now of those operators who have not been able to launch in time?

If the local DTT market is already ripe or DTT will be launched in a similar time frame to the IPTV offering, a different strategy must be adopted.

DTT poses the threat of keeping fledgling IPTV service out of the market. So if you can’t beat the DTT bandwagon then join it. Using a Trojan horse will let an operator sneak back in to the TV space as soon as they’re ready.up

BT kind of did this, but instead of a supped-up “glass half full”, zapper they brought an IPTV service to market which without IP channels which turned out to be a half-empty glass for subscribers. From my viewpoint across the channel, BT has not been very successful. They came out of the woods too late for a head to head contest with Sky and Virgin, and too early for the lower profile approach suggested here.

For operators still to finalize plans, mainly T2 and T3’s, a possible tactic could be to subsidize a DTT zapper with Telco branding that has a return channel and some extra power. For the example of a DVB-T market, that’ll represent 50-80$ for an entry-level box instead of say 30$. It is important to spend an extra $ or two on the form-factor so the “box” is a desirable object (i.e. preferably not in the shape of a ordinary box).

Depending on market conditions, this super-zapper might even be sold with the promise of future interactive services even if they’re not ready yet. So the operator would only need to CAPEX the subsidy, not the whole cost.

In the worst case customers use the zapper unconnected, but still have the Telco Logo sitting next to the TV. There will always be scenarios to win-back the subscriber to an IPTV offering later on. These could for example start simply with a much better EPG or maybe a targeted catch-up TV service for one kind of popular program.

In the end IPTV holds the promise of much better interactive services than DTT, but for time to market issues, turn DTT into an opportunity not a threat.up[/lang_en]

[lang_fr]After launching IP-only boxes in France in 2003, Orange started to included DTT tuners in all its boxes from 2006. So at the launch of DTT in France some Orange customers already had an IP/DTT hybrid box before DTT coverage had actually reached their home.

But in France, when excited neighbours came to say they had a DTT box ready, an IPTV subscriber could answer back with their digital TV line-up that was already available with VoD also. Orange’s head start over DTT meant that most IPTV subscribers still today watch mainly IP channels despite the back that the box can receive and decode DTT. Orange, like its French competitors Free, SFR, Darty and the new entrant Bouygues now offer some exclusive channels which are not part of the national DTT line-up for free.

DTT rolls out in built up areas first and so it wasn’t until 2007 that a significant amount of subscribers were inside the DTT footprint without being eligible to IPTV. By then Orange had its hybrid IP/satellite offering ready and has been quite successful with it as they can also reach they still grey areas of DTT coverage.haut

For the more mature operators DTT has been both an opportunity and a threat. The threat was of course of loosing customers to more reliable and cheap non-connected DTT zappers. The opportunity was of having a piece of a very much larger cake.

In a market where analogue TV is still predominant, the promise of IPTV is harder to sell. But once the whole market is moving towards digital anyway, customers can be easier to hoax towards the charms of interactivity that will always be IPTV’s strong suit like with an enhanced interactive EPG or community and communication widgets.

Despite being a positive influence overall, DTT brings a thorn into customers support centres. Bad DTT Reception can cost hybrid IPTV operators a lots of customer support money.

But what now of those operators who have not been able to launch in time?

If the local DTT market is already ripe or DTT will be launched in a similar time frame to the IPTV offering, a different strategy must be adopted.

DTT poses the threat of keeping fledgling IPTV service out of the market. So if you can’t beat the DTT bandwagon then join it. Using a Trojan horse will let an operator sneak back in to the TV space as soon as they’re ready.haut

BT kind of did this, but instead of a supped-up “glass half full”, zapper they brought an IPTV service to market which without IP channels which turned out to be a half-empty glass for subscribers. From my viewpoint across the channel, BT has not been very successful. They came out of the woods too late for a head to head contest with Sky and Virgin, and too early for the lower profile approach suggested here.

For operators still to finalize plans, mainly T2 and T3’s, a possible tactic could be to subsidize a DTT zapper with Telco branding that has a return channel and some extra power. For the example of a DVB-T market, that’ll represent 50-80$ for an entry-level box instead of say 30$. It is important to spend an extra $ or two on the form-factor so the “box” is a desirable object (i.e. preferably not in the shape of a ordinary box).

Depending on market conditions, this super-zapper might even be sold with the promise of future interactive services even if they’re not ready yet. So the operator would only need to CAPEX the subsidy, not the whole cost.

In the worst case customers use the zapper unconnected, but still have the Telco Logo sitting next to the TV. There will always be scenarios to win-back the subscriber to an IPTV offering later on. These could for example start simply with a much better EPG or maybe a targeted catch-up TV service for one kind of popular program.

In the end IPTV holds the promise of much better interactive services than DTT, but for time to market issues, turn DTT into an opportunity not a threat.haut[/lang_fr]

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