The number of consumers who access video via the Internet will nearly quadruple in the next few years to reach at least one billion in 2013, according to a new study from ABI Research.
“The rapid expansion of broadband video creates opportunities across a number of market sectors,” said ABI senior analyst Cesar Bachelet. “A wide variety of actors aim to gain a share of this fast-growing market – not only content owners such as the BBC and NBC Universal, and Internet portals such as AOL and Yahoo, but also a range of new entrants, including user-generated content sites such as YouTube and Dailymotion, broadband video sites such as CinemaNow and Lovefilm, and Internet TV providers such as Apple and Zattoo.”
The methods used to deliver online video are changing, ABI said, in order to reduce the strain on broadband networks. These include content distribution networks that cache content closer to the user, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and hybrid networks, which combine the two approaches.
This proliferation poses a challenge for traditional pay-TV operators, ABI concluded. But pay-TV providers should refrain from knee-jerk responses and adopting defensive measures aimed at discouraging consumers from using those services, Bachelet said. “That would only produce resentment from subscribers, and likely defections from their services.”
Bachelet recommends an “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach. “They can offer access to content via this increasingly popular alternative platform. They can offer content beyond that available through traditional channels, and they can reach a new set of subscribers.”
ABI Research’s new study, “Over-the-Top Internet Video Strategies for Carriers” (available here), outlines the various strategies that carriers can adopt to capitalize on the wave of broadband video services.
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