With companies launching on-demand services over the internet and via cable, viewers now have the freedom to choose when and where they watch programmes (BBC’s VOD rivals call for level playing field, MW February 1). And with the big market players finally announcing products that bridge the gap between the desktop and the television set, it is clear that internet TV is indeed finally about to break into the mainstream.
But commercial broadcasters who fear the BBC will use its subsidised position to dominate video-on-demand (VOD) seems completely short-sighted.
Rather its competitors should welcome the fact that a globally recognised organisation is backing the medium. This moves VOD well and truly into the mainstream, rather than signalling the beginnings of its demise. And with nearly every content provider, manufacturer, and software company offering new internet TV-enabled gadgets or services, internet TV soon may be as familiar to consumers as the PC or flat-panel TV.
The medium is still very much in its infancy, with the battle of the formats well underway. The real winner will be a provider that can overcome the many rights issues that will bring a wide range of desired content to one place at a reasonable price. This must be accessible on the consumer’s chosen device, whether a PC, set-top box or gaming console.
And with iSuppli predicting 65 million internet TV users by 2010, cries of "it’s not fair" simply look churlish in what was always going to be a bruising battle for a highly lucrative market sector.
Managing director, Europe
Vividas Streaming Video