IPTV was launched commercially in Bangalore a couple of days ago (after a soft launch on the 30th of July), and Mahendra Chouhan, Director of IOL Broadband, an IPTV content provider, disclosed that they have a deal with BSNL for launch of the services in 59 cities. [via ET] The company is targeting 7 cities this fiscal, and 21 cities in the next. That’s far too slow in my opinion, and they’re losing the plot. – the marketing blitz from DTH service providers, and the option of CAS will be hard to compete with; also the issue that IPTV is essentially wireline access, while DTH is wireless. One can argue that this is triple play – telephone, internet and tv, but that doesn’t hold much water even as a superior service when it is (in my opinion) more likely to be viewed as a TV distribution initiative. Speed to market here is critical, because the installation cost of DTH, CAS and IPTV will serve as a lock-in.
So far, IPTV services have been been launched in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, and in Delhi by MTNL. If anyone reading this has tried out IPTV, do let us know what it’s like. BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal says that the company has a broadband subscriber base of 10 lakh, and is looking to add 6 million subs a year. The ET story starts off with the line “With the broadband penetration gaining momentum”…Whoa! When did that happen?
Meanwhile, Multi Service Operators and Cable operators are using the launch of IPTV as a means to seek an increase in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit. FDI in cable distribution is at 49 percent, while in Telecom, it’s 74 percent. The other issue is of content – Cable and DTH can only offer channels that have a downlink license, while that’s not the case with IPTV. More here.