Thursday, March 13, 2008

To London’s Groucho Club and an entertaining evening hosted by law firm Sheridans discussing Internet TV with some of the leading players in the UK.

The general consensus seemed to be that the BBC iPlayer had opened up the market for watching video online in the UK, but that Kangaroo – and indeed all of BBC Worldwide’s activities – is becoming a problem in using public subsidies to undermine commercial organisations.

Mobile phone networks were thought to be very well placed to offer TV services in the future, but that fixed line incumbents such as BT Vision were unlikely to make any progress in the market; indeed there were worries that the market in the UK was being held back by BT’s lack of infrastructure investment , unlike the US where companies such as AT&T and Verizon are investing heavily in taking on incumbent cable companies with IPTV services.

However, in other ways, those operating internationally considered the UK market to be ahead of the US in most other respects, largely due to rights issues in the US.

The main theme of discussion was monetising video content over the internet and here it seemed that traditional business models have some way to run and almost everyone reported frustration that brands and media agencies weren’t buying into the narrowcast model, leaving the field open to Google.

Inevitably, for all but the most valuable of content (usually sports), advertising was perceived as the main business model, with some disappointment being voiced over the failure of companies such as Jalipo to monetize content in the marketplace.

Perhaps most interesting of all was a discussion about the value of content, with most content owners being perceived as over-valuing their properties, whereas they might be best in charging low sums but looking for multiple outlets, just as the major music companies have done.

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