Shelly Palmer

IPTV Wars Loom Large


Unless you live under a rock, you know about the Verizon-MCI deal.  I don’t want to comment about the business part of this merger, you can get about a zillion subject matter experts to weigh-in about the dollars and sense.  However, I do want to highlight the relative prominence of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) in the announcement.


MCI has a contract to deliver Time Warner Cable programming over IPTV and Verizon is getting ready to start installing DirecTV systems.  This mega-phone company is hoping to become a major force in the television distribution business.  They certainly have the infrastructure to accomplish this.  So, when will it happen?

It is possible that Verizon-MCI will be first.  Most analysts think that SBC/AT&T will have to spend quite a while getting their house in order and that new initiatives, like IPTV, will have to wait.  On the other hand, Verizon-MCI is pretty much at fighting weight.  MCI is about as lean a machine as you could purchase.  Additionally, MCI has a huge roster of business clients and some of the best, most profitable, uses of IPTV are B2B.

Let’s all say a prayer for Qwest and think happy thoughts and good wishes for consumers – who will now have to deal with telecommunications companies that rival the sizes of small countries.  Didn’t the government break up the Bell System to prevent … this?  Not to worry – the concept of a triple play (television, land lines and broadband) or quadruple play (wireless, television, land lines and broadband) come with the concept of a “one bill.”  This construct of a deranged bookkeepers mind will ultimately lead to another concept … sticker shock!  At some point, consumers will wake up and ask their government if the two remaining teleconglomerates are too big?

In the mean time, the good news for the Advanced Media industry is that big companies can get big stuff done and IPTV is big stuff.  And, yes … the platform is probably going to come from Microsoft.