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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 25, 2011

U.K. and France Driving European OTT Video Market

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Broadcasters in the U.K. and France are leading Europe's deployments of over-the-top (OTT) video services and are helping to invigorate free and pay-TV competitive dynamics, creating new business models along the way, research firm SNL Kagan reported in a recent study.

The researchers attributed the recent uptick in OTT service launches to broadcaster-led catch-up services, which have changed the way that content is viewed and distributed online.

"Today's fragmented hybrid broadcast broadband initiatives across Europe are being brought under a number of national-level umbrellas, as Project Canvas (YouView) in the U.K., MHP in Italy and HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) in Germany and France enable broadcasters to compete on content rather than technology while opening significant opportunities for experimentation with interactivity," SNL Kagan noted in a press release.

Double and triple-play bundles in the U.K., Germany and France were found to be affordable and adopted on a wide scale, positioning established video providers to help influence OTT take-ups in their areas. The research firm also found that applications deployed over Web-enabled televisions "are likely to reshape the market significantly in the medium term."

While the U.K. and France were found to be leading the market for OTT deployments, European countries like Spain and Italy have limited mass-market penetration of services like video on demand, catch-up and PC TV.

SNL Kagan found the competitive environment in Italy has created barriers for new entrants into the OTT market. However, well-established players of the industry such as Mediaset, will be in position to deploy hybrid DTT/OTT systems on a broad scale over the long-term.

The research firm found Spain's overpriced pay-TV subscriptions have created an opportunity for OTT deployments. Unfortunately, the nation's burgeoning video piracy problem will most likely cause legal OTT adoption rates to suffer.

"Pay-TV incumbents are not standing idly by, with nearly all major cable, satellite and IPTV (News - Alert) players exploring TV everywhere systems bringing OTT to the traditional services fold, while satisfying consumer demands for multi-screen access to content on-demand," added SNL Kagan.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein