IPTV providers are enthusiastic about embracing over-the-top (OTT) video as a competitive differentiator against cable, and that’s why Entone arranged to incorporate in its own IPTV set-top boxes access to Vudu’s content library.
The Vudu library, particularly rich in high-definition film titles, was previously accessible only through Vudu’s own box, sold at retail.
The deal relieves IPTV providers from having to conduct their own rights negotiations with a variety of content owners; instead, they leverage the rights Vudu has already secured.
Entone CEO Steve McKay said the move was customer pull, not vendor push. “This is driven by the operators asking us to help them solve this problem,” he said.
Viewers access the content through the Entone box, and they neither know nor care that the library was built by Vudu, not their IPTV provider. “Vudu becomes my VOD,” McKay, said, putting himself in the place of the viewer. “I pull up the Vudu library, but I’m still in the pay-TV environment.”
The arrangement undercuts the threat of over-the-top, McKay argued. “Operators are terrified by over-the-top, even though in the short term the potential is overdone. The way to go is to make the over-the-top players friends instead of foes.”