TelcoVideo revives trusted content source

Since the demise of the IP-Prime wholesale programming offering was announced late last year, a number of vendors have been fighting over the dozens of small independent telcos that had signed up for the service. Though it's nice to be the object of the affection of multiple suitors, I'm betting those telcos would have preferred that IP-Prime just keep ambling along.

Video, after all, is a very new business to many of these carriers, and getting a wholesale content solution that came with the endorsement of groups like the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, was certainly a better, easier and more comforting way of entering a new realm than the alternative of negotiating with multiple programmers to get fair (read "inexpensive") access to the right content.

With IP-Prime ending, many telcos and cooperatives have spent the intervening months looking at and deciding on a new programming solution, likely a daunting process for most of them. So it was probably good news this week to hear that the NRTC and the NTCA--following the merger of Avail Media and TVN Entertainment, which the NRTC invested in--are debuting a new wholesale content platform called TelcoVideo. The new name, better than IP-Prime, sums up what small telcos most need--video content, not technology distinctions.

Those telcos still have a lot of potential choices between TelcoVideo, other wholesale vendors, broadband video platforms and hybrid IPTV/online video platforms. It's nice to have those choices, though if small telcos don't want to spend a lot of time and effort evaluating them, it's nice to know that they can again put their trust in a solution endorsed by their trusted industry associations.

- Dan

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The NRTC and NTCA announced TelcoVideo this week
IP-Prime's demise was announced last year
EchoStar won over some former IP-Prime customers
Avail Media also won over many IP-Prime clients