AT&T’s triple-play product bundle, U-verse, is currently available in 11 U.S. markets and is largely in testing phases. It has a long way to go before it can compete with cable offerings in many markets, but once it clears content aggregation, licensing, and infrastructure and deployment hurdles (Verizon faces the same issues), it will be a compelling offering.
As we’ve pointed out in the past, the architecture of IPTV will be much like that of the Web, which will allow for the contextual, behavioral and geographically targeted advertising we’ve seen grow online. Many other factors must fall into place before this goal is realized though.
One of these, mentioned above, is content aggregation, which telcos like AT&T are finding to be a challenge, given their lack of experience doing it. Once they have this content in place, they will be able to distribute it across many channels and devices, which is where their efforts in bundled services (voice, video, data and wireless) come in.
AT&T recently signed a long-term deal with Hearst-Argyle Television to acquire local news, sports and weather broadcasts for U-verse subscribers in six markets near AT&T’s San Antonio headquarters (its biggest IPTV test market). The San Antonio Business Journal has the scoop.
Elsewhere in the world of IPTV, IPTV News reports on a study that shows there are currently 3.6 million subscribers. ISupply meanwhile predicts there will be 65 million worldwide subscribers by 2010, and an overall IPTV revenue stream to telcos of $18 billion by 2009.