What's next for IPTV? You tell us

I've been manning the helm at FierceIPTV for almost a month now, and the vast majority of reports I've been seeing and discussions I've been party to have had to do with subscriber numbers. This especially has been this case in the last couple of weeks, as telcos from around the world have been reporting first quarter earnings. Because IPTV is still in its young, growth-spurt phase, telcos have been happy to share IPTV subscriber growth figures, and highlight these numbers in their quarterly reports. Certainly, we'll see more of the same when second quarter earnings reports are filed this summer.

But, while subscriber growth is exciting and likely will continue to fuel a good portion of our content, it is time to take a broader, deeper look at IPTV trends and technologies. Here's a few things I'm keeping my eye on right now:

  • Back office and IMS integration of IPTV silos: As telcos have been focused on initial IPTV service launches and marketing campaigns, how well have the new services been integrated into existing OSS structures? If those same telcos are pursuing IP Multimedia Subsystem projects, have IPTV offering been considered as part of the IMS plan? I'm betting the answer is "no" in both cases.
  • IPTV pricing: Prices for Verizon Communications' FiOS TV service increased during 2007. Cable TV prices continue to increase, so maybe IPTV players can just continue to roll along; but could price hikes hurt IPTV adoption going forward, especially if telcos also are looking to charge customers extra for things like HD DVR services?
  • IPTV integration with online video: These two sectors still seem like strange bedfellows to me, but new companies like Sezmi are looking to help telcos make sense of the online video boom by integrating online video capabilities with their IPTV services.

What do you think about each of these areas and where they are headed? As we look to dig deeper into the IPTV sector, what are some trends and technologies you think we should be watching closely? Please post a comment and let us know.

- Dan