Tuesday, May 27, 2008

One Billion Web Video Viewers Predicted by 2013

ABI Research has an interesting new study out that forecasts at least one billion in 2013 viewers will access video via the web - this is approximately four times the number of viewers who currently use the web t watch video. Here's a quote from ABI Senior Analyst Cesar Bachelet:

The rapid expansion of broadband video creates opportunities across a number of market sectors..... A wide variety of actors aim to gain a share of this fast-growing market: not only content owners such as the BBC and NBC Universal, and Internet portals such as AOL and Yahoo!, but also a range of new entrants including user-generated content sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion, broadband video sites such as CinemaNow and Lovefilm, and Internet TV providers such as Apple and Zattoo.”

Technologies discusses include content distribution networks that cache content closer to the user, peer-to-peer networks which leverage users’ PCs, and hybrid networks which combine these two approaches. This is serious business for service providers - how should they react? Bachelet recommends the following:

Pay-TV providers should refrain from knee-jerk responses, or adopting defensive measures aimed at discouraging consumers from using those services. That would only produce resentment from subscribers and likely defections from their services.

He recommends an “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach, in an attempt to turn the threat into an opportunity. Here's more:

Particularly for those who own broadband infrastructure, PC-based services can be an ideal complement to their core business. They can offer access to content via this increasingly popular alternative platform. They also can offer content beyond that available through traditional channels, and they can reach a new set of subscribers.

We've seen the Internet flip some industries upside down - the one that first comes to my mind is the newspaper business which has been cut out of significant advertising and classified revenue by sites like Craigslist. We'll see if the Pay-TV people can turn this coming threat into an opportunity.

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