Tag Archives: OTT

Intel: a new breed of ‘virtual cable operator’?

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Intel is developing an over-the-top video service for US consumers, apparently positioned as a ‘virtual cable operator’ which would sell US TV channels nationwide in the manner of a traditional pay-TV ‘bundle’.

The vehicle for the service would, according to the WSJ, be an Intel Internet-capable set-top box.

The news is intriguing for several reasons: it was not that long ago that Intel was reported to be abandoning efforts to sell its processors to manufacturers of connected TVs, a strategy it launched in 2007.

Intel did say at the time that it would maintain a presence in the set-top box market, where it has met with a measure of success through deals with Comcast in the US and Liberty Global in Europe. Those agreements have been tempered, however, by the recent loss of its high-profile deal with Google TV, which has now chosen to go with the ARM-based Marvell Armada 1500 chipset instead.

Intel’s move may, in fact, be a reaction to this.

Of greater significance, perhaps, is the notion of a ‘virtual cable operator’, which runs against the apparent trend towards distributors being disintermediated by the Internet.

In fact, farncombe was arguing two years ago that a new type of intermediary online player was required to make the OTT video sector more efficient and economic.

Farncombe postulated at the time that there were two possible models for such intermediaries:

  1. In order to differentiate themselves from their competitors, they would invest in exclusive premium content on their own account or with a partner; or
  2. They would regard their strength as lying within their role as “commodity” providers of access to multiple content providers, and would not seek to invest in the video platforms themselves or in “direct” content agreements.

Although it’s not yet clear whether Intel intends to invest in premium content, it appears to be following the first model rather than the second.

Non-linear delivery: Nielsen and IHS tell traditional broadcasters not to worry… yet

Two new pieces of research suggest a limited impact so far by OTT and non-linear TV delivery systems on traditional forms of TV consumption:
1) First, IHS is claiming that ‘Broadcasters Have No Cause for Panic Over Rise of Nonlinear TV’, based on predictions that DVR, on-demand and other forms of nonlinear programming will account for “only 15.8% of television viewing in the United States in 2015, up from 9.9% in 2010″ – while in the UK, non-linear will account for 12.7% of television viewing in 2015, up from 7.8% in 2010 (see here).
2) Second, Videonuze, citing a new study by Nielsen and CTAM for the US market, concludes - with caveats – that for those fearing that video consumption through mobile and connected devices threatens to disrupt traditional linear TV viewership, it may not be “happening en masse, at least not yet”. The study suggests that 85% of video app users are watching the same or more regularly scheduled [amounts of] TV.