What is this issue about

How do you launch an IPTV/OTT business?

Interview with Alexei Munteanu, a former vice president of Starnet, about launching IPTV/OTT projects, the things operators make money off of, improving subscriber retention, and picking reliable partners.

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Coverage of technology, solutions, and everything else you need to launch a successful business


First-hand accounts from our own top managers and guest specialists


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Case studies of projects we completed for operators with audiences of 50k–100k subscribers

New issue:

BroadVision Q4 (10)

How do you launch an IPTV/OTT business?

Interview with Alexei Munteanu, a former vice president of Starnet, about launching IPTV/OTT projects, the things operators make money off of, improving subscriber retention, and picking reliable partners.

Q4 (10)

Your personal IPTV/OTT business advisor

How do you launch
an IPTV/OTT business?

How to launch an IPTV/OTT business and why Android TV may soon dominate the TV market. Secrets of the Whooshi portable amp and our experiences while working with Brazilian operators boasting a million-strong subscriber base

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Our readers consist of managers and communication specialists
in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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They study the IPTV/OTT industry
to keep their businesses competitive.

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on today's flagship technologies.

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They discover how to attract and
retain viewers nowadays.

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We talked to Starnet's former vice president Aleksei Munteanu about launching an IPTV/OTT project, what operators are living off, retaining viewers, and choosing reliable partners.

Interviewer: Hennadii Mitrov
Who launches IPTV businesses now? And why?

IPTV is a part of the natural evolution from broadcasting to multiplay.

Internet providers, cable and satellite companies — they all have their reasons to migrate.

Just offering a service is not enough to attract subscribers anymore, so companies started moving toward bundles 15–16 years ago. 

Cable providers migrate to IPTV, and internet providers are integrating television. Double Play included internet and TV, and Triple Play added telephony into the mix. Mobile operators are starting to adopt Quadro Play with voice communication, TV, cable internet and mobile internet.

Amid tough competition, they have to combine services and become multiservice operators. 

As soon as one of the players starts offering multiple services, the offer with the best value gets him all the audience. A company like that has lower infrastructure amortization costs, as well as, costs of every service in the existing OPEX model since less staff is required to support a new service.

«To ensure the timely launch of an IPTV/OTT project, it is important that you choose a comprehensive solution from a reliable partner. The main criteria here are whether the solution meets the market demand, will be profitable and will enable a service with high enough SLA. It’s all true for middleware, set-top boxes, and apps alike.

What makes an operator stand out is the quality of their services and client satisfaction, the technological head start is a very short-lived thing. You are better off launching MVPs. Imperfect as they are, they will still capture a market share.»

Alexei Munteanu, former Vice President, Starnet

Who has an easier time integrating IPTV?

It’s easiest for internet providers. They will need a head-end station, an antenna field, servers, and transcoders, and then there’s the billing system that needs to be integrated and middleware to be deployed. The operator’s LAN cable is in every household already, and chances are there’s a Wi-Fi router there, too. So, subscribers purchase a set-top box or a service accessed through their Smart TV.

Cable operators can’t transition to IPTV because their network does not support IP packets. The technology has already reached its ceiling — although one indeed can bring the cable services to a new level, it’s just an imitation of IPTV. It’s just a short-term strategy. In the age of personalized content and increasing customer expectations regarding quality, it’s bound to reach another ceiling, and then there’s no way through it. As Craig Charles once said, cable operators need to “evolve or die”. It’s all up to them. The only happy ending here is through a merger or takeover.

The situation with HFC networks is somewhat more optimistic. The signal between large neighborhoods is transferred via fiber-optic cables, and digital is converted to analog once it enters the household. Operators like these have an easier time transitioning to IPTV. DOCSIS technology is optimal for them — in revision 4.0 it supports symmetrical channels with speeds up to 10 GBit/s, and it’s just what you need for IPTV.

There is no market where cable would maintain presence after a multiplay operator has entered. Often, major players just take over these companies.

Do IPTV operators need to migrate to OTT?

To broadcast to mobile devices and smart TVs, IPTV operators need a hybrid platform and branded apps. The last mile between the device and the network has physically changed. Before, set-top boxes were connected to the network with a physical cable. Users were willing to lay cables all around the house, fixed to the walls, and hide wires under the skirting boards. Now they buy smart TVs with Wi-Fi, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, and Hulu. The question is, why would you need a separate set-top box in this case? Content delivery methods are changing, so regular operators are getting closer to “over the top”.

In cities with high-rise buildings, there’s a router in every flat. Some people keep their routers in wardrobes, on the floor or near the flat entrance and get a weak signal when they want to connect. But even if this problem is solved, you can’t have clients on separate channels like 1, 6, and 11, or at least 1, 5, 9, 13. There’s also interference with other routers and Bluetooth devices to consider. It’s extremely difficult to manage wireless networks.

Operators can’t guarantee that the last mile will be obstacle-free. Therefore, OTT is the last link in the chain, and you need new data management systems for access quality management.



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