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The opportunities, and risks, of TV Everywhere

New TM Forum white paper, along with the group's work with CableLabs, starts to examine the wide-ranging impact of multi-screen video

As new video content and delivery ecosystems expand and mature, it brings together unlikely bed-fellows. Telco OSS/BSS infrastructure must address the TV challenge.

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TV Everywhere (TVE), in particular, brings new challenges to multi-service operators (MSOs) according to a new paper from the TM Forum. Apart from bandwidth considerations and the demand that is being driven in part by the success of tablets, MSOs must now get involved in rights negotiations; authorization procedures; parental controls; caps; multiple device management issues; integration and support.

The rate of uptake of tablets is driving TV Everywhere faster than expected. Tablet sales are predicted to total 450 million by 2015, according to the report, while Parks Associates notes that 81 percent of North Americans and 40 percent of Western Europeans can now access some form of TV Everywhere.

TV Everywhere gives ‘traditional’ fixed line players, particularly cable companies, an advantage since they are more likely to own or control the last mile to customers’ premises which means they can control the quality better than a wireless carrier can. It is, according to the title of the paper, ‘cable’s next frontier.’ Although wireless carriers are at a disadvantage, some see the arrival of 4G as the answer. While 4G might provide the capacity and speed, controlling the quality of the experience is still uncertain, according to Allan Zendle, a vice president at consulting firm TMNG Global.

Right now TV Everywhere is fulfilling its primary first objective. It is a compelling tool in the customer retention battle. As an unnamed vendor puts it in the paper, “the more you insinuate yourself … into a consumer’s life, the less likely it is they’ll leave you.”

The OSS/BSS challenges cannot be understated. TV is only now hitting the radars of telcos and their suppliers are now producing a range of products that sound alien to the requirements of telcos – video quality monitoring solutions, rights management tools and a new wave of customer facing solutions. These must now address more complex customer provisioning requirements, authentication, fulfillment, service assurance and settlement processes.

The TM Forum is working with CableLabs on the converging standards that will be needed to address the two worlds, one based on IP and one that lives through a content delivery network. Now, more than ever, network quality and the customer experience are inextricably linked and the walls must finally come down between OSS and BSS silos, otherwise the side effects will be severe.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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