I ran yesterday into a very interesting post written by a friend, Antonio Pavolini, one of the main media landscape analysts in Italy. His post, published on Voices, the new collective blog launched by Telecomitalia quotes the IPTV italian association report, stating that by 2014 the majority of tv sets in Italy will be internet enabled. The point of the post is quite simple: CE manufacturers add the ethernet port to tv sets as a marketing strategy, they don’t really have interest in launching OTT tv, they prefer to keep up with a strong relationship with broadcasters and close access to new players. All in all, in this country there’s no actual ondemand services like Netflix or Vudu, we still deal with OTT closed services based on MHP, and anything you can possibly find for free using your (usually crappy) internet connection is way far from being catchy. Anyone who lives in Italy can easily understand how Antonio is right, checking out the typical CE shopping scheme: regardless social status, people buys a new TV because it’s “cool”, “thin” and “cheap”, not because it offers new services otherwise not available. Now, how this walled garden can be smashed?
“The problem is not the technology. The players (majors, broadcasters, independent content creators, CE manufacturers, etc) should understand that a new and smooth media ecosystem capable to monetize the entire content supply chain, can happily and profitably marry with the user right to platform-neutral access to those contents”
Antonio is damn right on this, especially because, as we all know, things on the internet go fast, and if access to content is closed or reduced, chances are that smart people usually finds holes to that content.
Italy is at the 10th place in worldwide online piracy, right after countries not exactly known for being smooth and open in content distribution and access (China, Russia, Saudi Arabia…), and first of the western countries, as shown in this infographic by go-globe.com, via affreschi digitali, excerpted here:
The italian 20something are happy to receive in their house a “cool” and “thin” new tv set, just to connect appliances they already own (game consoles, multimedia disks, media centers, and use it as a big screen to watch movies and tv shows downloaded via p2p networks or file servers like megaupload or filesonic. The content demand is high, and it’s definitely not fulfilled by traditional supply chain. Why would I buy expensive dtt decoders when I can use appliances I already have?The killer hardware is not the ethernet port, it’s the hdmi port. That said, a revision of media distribution strategy by big players is simply what is needed to monetize and existing demand. The marriage is easy, because if you give people an easy and cheap way to access content, they pay.
Final question: will it happen with TV what happened with mobile, where walled garden tumbled down thanks to the pressure of outside quality content, or the higher interests and the language/localization problems will drive to a different end?
26 October 2011 - Leggi in italiano
Steve Jobs was working on a killer idea to reinvent TV, this is what we are reading on Isaacson biography. “I finally cracked it” he said, and this let us assume that in Apple labs there’s something more than a 42″ Ipad with Siri.
“He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant,” Isaacson wrote. “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”
Leaving aside the coolness of the devices themselves, what made the Iphone and the Ipad standing out products was the Itunes integration, the apps, and the bundle strategies with operators – and this was what really opened the doors to mass market. Now, if it’s true that tv sets and blu-ray players are progressively matching the yearly turnover of PCs and mobile devices, I’m wondering if the cracking feature of the iTV could ever be an agreement with local telcos and cable ops to guarantee a (say) 30$ monthly bill to have content, bandwidth AND the shiny brilliant Siri operated iTV.