Traffic grows at the intersection of media and telecom

IBC takes place Sept. 13-18 at the RAI in Amsterdam. (Ben Munson/FierceVideo)

It's no secret that the media industry and the telecom industry are rapidly becoming intertwined. Indeed, an increasing number of telecom companies are investing in the media space while, concurrently, media companies continue to partner with telecom companies in order to get their content in front of viewers.

Further, it's clear that technologies on both sides of this intersection are increasingly bringing players together, and the crossing between these two industries is becoming increasingly crowded.

Not surprisingly, the schedule at this year's IBC show reflects these new trends. For example, at the Telco & Media Innovation Forum, IBC show organizers promise that attendees “will navigate the challenges and opportunities as traditional telcos transition to digital players and broaden their offerings by adding content assets and partner with content providers.” Speakers from Telstra and Deutsche Telekom will mingle alongside speakers from the BBC and Netflix.

And that's just one of the many events that will delve into this area. Other events will look at the promise of 5G network technology and what it might mean for the telecom and media industries. Specifically, in other areas of the IBC schedule, speakers from the likes of KT and Qualcomm will talk about this new technology, while the Road to 5G panel promises to cover these issues with speakers like Christian Harris, head of digital entertainment for European telecom giant Three.

Of course, none of this comes as much of a surprise. After all, research firm IHS Markit recently found that extreme mobile broadband (eMBB) was the highest-rated 5G use case driver among telecom industry survey respondents. The technology promises to enable services including high-definition (HD) and ultra-high-definition (UHD) video services over an increasing number of consumer connections.

The interest of the telecom industry in video services is also well-documented. AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, and that company’s brands including HBO and Turner, is a highlight of the merger between telecom and media. But Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal also falls into this area, as does Verizon's recent teaming with YouTube TV and T-Mobile's purchase of Layer3 TV.

The real question though is whether telecom companies will be able to make more money through the deployment of new network technologies including 5G, and whether media companies will be able to charge more for their content thanks to these new networks. And that is still an open question.