IPTV vs. online video industry? More similar than you'd think

I've been writing about something for (yikes!) more than 30 years, and I'm still never comfortable writing that first column for a publication, introducing myself and trying to be buddy-buddy with people I don't yet know as well as I'd like. But I've been at Fierce for more than two-and-a-half years now, so I feel like I'm already part of the FierceIPTV club, albeit a junior member, so this should be a little easier.

Now, I admit, I come from "the dark side;" for the past six months I've been editor of FierceOnlineVideo, where monetizing online video has been a Holy Grail of sorts, a great idea that's yet to come to fruition--but an idea everybody agrees is the mission. My coverage there includes things like TV Everywhere, over-the-top delivery, cord cutting, the 3D TV experience, Comcast, Hulu, Netflix and the like.

The difference? Well, for example, to most FierceOnlineVideo readers, OTT delivery is one of the "good guys," and el bandito is, well, TV Everywhere. In essence, FierceIPTV is the antithesis of my "other" beat. As editor of both publications, I get to explore the yin yang of the industry, to look at the interconnected nature of two businesses that are seemingly opposed to each other; my own interpretation of what some see as a battle of good and evil. OK, maybe not quite good and evil, but certainly two opposite sides of the same coin. Think, maybe, Microsoft and Apple.

It's a perfect position for an Irishman like me, now I can get in a fight even if there's no one else around; I'll always have me to disagree with. At least I will for a while. Hulu is making money, venture capital is again on the table, and consumers are more than a little interested in 3D TV and its possibilities. It's good news for both camps.

Of course, OTT is another story. In February I attended OTTCon in San Jose, where most presenters drew a line in the sand between OTT for the online video industry ("hey, here's a great way to get 'free' content over/under/around the pay wall"), and OTT for the IPTV industry ("hey, here's a great way to capture all those viewers watching the content for which we paid, and get our fair share"). Obviously, there's big money in over-the-top delivery, enough for both industries. Philosophically...

So, I'm headed out to NAB next week in Vegas with an iPad full of appointments and questions to ask. My dance card already is pretty full, but I'll be wandering through the booths and can always find time for a quick chat and introduction. Drop me a note at [email protected] and let's get to know each other.-Jim

P.S. On Tuesday, April 13, in Las Vegas, I'll be hosting the FierceIPTV Executive Breakfast on TV Without Borders: Service Provider Strategies for the TV Everywhere Age. We'll be discussing how early TV Everywhere-style offerings are being marketed, and what has been learned from initial customer response to the programs, and also will touch on how service providers can leverage the information and metric gained from these services to increase value for advertisers, programmers, subscribers and themselves. Click here for more information.

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