Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Verizon Commits to All IP Network in Three Years

Light Reading has an interesting post titled At Age 2, Verizon FiOS Evolves. In the piece Terry Denson, Verizon Vice President of FiOS TV Content Strategy and Acquisition, says the carrier's mission isn't to have exclusive content, but a better network. The piece goes on to describe how the FIOS network will be converted to all IP over the next three years.

Today technically there is not much difference in the way the Cable companies and Verizon's FiOS deliver broadcast video to their customers but that will change as the provider networks (both Telco and Cable) migrate to all IP networks. Here's a quote from the Light Reading piece:

Cable companies and services like Verizon's FiOS send broadcast video to customers, but IPTV, in contrast, runs on a request-and-send architecture. The provider does not have to send 50 Mbit/s of bandwidth to a customer's home if his computer and TVs are off. The old cable architecture, however, is constantly feeding the home whether the consumer is there to use it or not.

IPTV works differently - it runs on a request-and-send delivery system. The consumer requests a channel and the provider delivers it. Denson is quoted in the piece as follows:

"IPTV identifies what is that one piece of content that would compel someone to switch or stay."

"If both cable and us (Verizon) have the World Cup, well then that's not going to be it. It could be Indian cricket or education. The scarcity of some content is an opportunity for us. Take the Food Network for example. Everyone knows it, but not many people watch it. But for some, it’s a key selling point."

What's driving this change? Technology and bandwidth economy of course but sometimes us technical people forget about marketing and advertising. Delivering channels using IP allows an almost infinite number of content possibilities.

Let's use an example to expand the marketing concept. I enjoy saltwater fly fishing, especially for striped bass on Cape Cod and also for snook in Florida. I'm also not a big golfer - nothing personal - I've tried and am just not very good at it! So what right? Here's another quote from Light Reading:

IPTV allows providers to know what its customers are watching. That's scary, to be sure. But it does mean that there will be no excuse for not having the most compelling content on offer -- since, after all, they "know" you.

So, based on what I watch, the provider could eventually assume that I'm not a golfer (because I don't watch golf) but I do like saltwater (not freshwater) fly fishing (not spin casting) for striped bass (not bluefish) on Cape Cod (not Long Island) and snook (not redfish) in the Clearwater, Florida (not Miami) area!

IPTV will allow providers to learn and react to what I watch by providing the kind of content I like and also react by - you got it - sending me targeted ads.

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