Carriers See Over-The-Top Video as Way to Fill Holes in Offerings

Monday, November 24th, 2008
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NEW YORK — As cable providers beef up their PC video offerings, satellite and telco operators increasingly see over-the-top broadband video delivery as a viable option to shore up their own weaknesses. Over the past year, both DirecTV and DISH Network have rolled out over-the-top Video On Demand on Internet-connected set-top boxes, while telcos in Europe have been combining digital terrestrial linear TV broadcasts with broadband video for VOD. ABI Research believes that as broadband video offerings increase in quality and become more seamless, carriers could be significant players in the over-the-top video delivery market.

“Carrier-packaged over-the-top video delivery is a reality today in most markets,” says research director Michael Wolf of ABI Research. “The fact is, broadband video is a way for some carriers to fill holes relative to larger closed-network operators such as cable MSOs, and we think over time more satellite, telco and European terrestrial operators will utilize broadband video delivery as a component of their overall offering.”

2Wire’s recent release of a carrier-targeted broadband video delivery set-top box is a sign that hardware manufacturers are also seeing a growth opportunity in this market. At the same time, cable operators such as Comcast are looking for ways to package broadband video to the PC as a way to combat potential growing interest in free ad-supported video delivery from portals.

“Comcast’s early interest in being a Hulu syndication partner with its Fancast portal shows how MSOs are also interested in utilizing online video,” notes Wolf. “While some MSOs will ultimately take a defensive stance using bandwidth caps or other measures, some also see a threat in offering nothing to their own customers in a world where free, ad-supported prime-time content is available to consumers via their PCs.”

ABI Research’s new study, “Over-the-Top Internet Video Strategies for Carriers” outlines the various strategies carriers can adopt to capitalize on the wave of broadband video services, thus turning a threat into an opportunity.

It forms part of two ABI Research Services, Digital Media and Multi-Channel Video, which also include other Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, Online Databases, ABI Insights, Vendor Matrices, and analyst inquiry support.