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Over the Top but Still Under Control

Back in January 2011, Erik Huggers, BBC's “director of future, media and technology” left the BBC to join Intel. This led to speculation that Intel may have a grand plan for doing what Apple, Google and other giants have not been able to do: create a new model for internet TV– live multichannel programming delivered over a broadband data pipe, but sold separately. The article in the link below outlines recent Intel moves, and gives a nice recap of the content wars, big Cable vs. telecom carriers, and more– as TV remains the last bastion of old-school content control that has eluded massive disruption by the new tech giants. As it’s turned out of course, Comcast and Time Warner Cable and a few other legacy telecom companies are the only companies that have been able to hold off kind of direct attacks that have wounded so many other communications giants.

Curiously, the article does not use the term “Over-The-Top” (OTT)– the term that’s intrigued me ever since this became the big issue in television broadcast world, some years back– but OTT is at the heart of it. Over-The-Top refers to broadband delivery of content without the ISP (Internet Service Provider) involved in the control or distribution of that content.

OTT in the form of content that arrives from a third party such as Netflix, Hulu, etc. to end-user devices, has to date been confined mainly to those “premium” services and OTT has not spread to mainstream network content– yet. How long will this last? No one five years ago would have thought the Apples and Googles of the world would not by now have cracked the armor of the old cable giants.

What does all this have to do with pro AV, installed AV? Well, I’ve been saying for years that the next frontier of installed AV, in the face of shrinking margins for the gear itself, is content. Managing content for end users. Creating content. Servicing content. Helping our customers figure out where content should live. There is much to be learned from these OTT wars as we all head into uncharted waters and try to find new revenue streams as old models are disrupted. What will happen in the television broadcast world will dictate who controls the pipelines– and as the world goes increasingly IP every industry will need of piece of it to survive.

This is the article on Intel:

David Keene is a publishing executive and editorial leader with extensive business development and content marketing experience for top industry players on all sides of the media divide: publishers, brands, and service providers. Keene is the former content director of Digital Signage Magazine.