New look IP&TV World Forum highlights developments in Connected TV and the enhanced user experience

The new IP&TV World Forum format has been hailed a success by its 6,457 visitors, who attended the show last week at Olympia in London. It fuelled the debate on developments in Connected TV and the increasing diversity of the market for IP delivered TV, where “over the top” players, content providers, broadcasters and cable service providers play an equally important role as telcos.

More than 250 speakers, including over 140 service providers from telcos, cablecos, broadcasters, online service providers and content providers addressed the global conference audience, alongside a lively exhibition which experienced the highest visitor figures in the event’s history.

Gavin Whitechurch, director of the IP&TV World Series, was delighted with the positive response to the expanded scope of this year’s event. He commented: “For the first time in its seven year history, the event bears an evolved name, albeit subtly, with an ampersand now inserted between “IP” and “TV”. We believe this more accurately reflects the scope of the event, and the focus of our customers – it’s clearly been the right choice.

“The inclusion of keynote presentations from the cable market added a new dimension to the event and reflects the widening of the sector and the changing industry trends.”

Whilst “managed end to end telco iptv” will always remain a core focus of the show, the industry has evolved into much more. The business and technical challenges the community is currently wrestling with involve using the flexibility and addressability of IP to deliver a wide array of personalised media services. These range from Smart TVs and TV Apps, to OTT and multiplatform TV services, advanced content discovery and UI, new generations of advertising, to the connected home, and to the content delivery networks that underpin all of these.

For the first time, the opening day keynotes focused on the cable market, reflecting the importance of this growth market for IP delivered TV, where service providers are rapidly moving to DOCSIS to offer flexible, personalised services. Peter Percosan, MD of Cable Europe Labs discussed the importance for cable companies to be represented at IP&TV World Forum and how IP is increasingly relevant to how customers communicate and receive entertainment. This theme was continued in the presentation by Dr. Giles Wilson, CTO Solution Area TV at Ericsson, who highlighted that we live in a new era of connected devices and those operators who rise to the multiscreen challenge will be the ones who are successful overall.

The second and third day keynotes feature the OTT service thought leaders of recent years, Hulu and Netflix. China Telecom, the world’s largest “pure play” IPTV deployment – and an IP&TV Industry Award winner – was also featured through a keynote presentation.

Johannes Larcher, senior vice president international at Hulu explained how he believes everyone can gain from the rise in OTT TV (over the top to television) – consumers and advertisers, and the content owners themselves who will see more and novel ways of delivery and monetising their content.

On day three Bill Holmes, vice president of business development at Netflix, discussed how the mobile market represents a huge opportunity but the pricing and perception needs to be changed in order to work effectively.

Gavin added: “Service providers are starting to appreciate that OTT TV services are complementary not competitive; they are dramatically enhancing the user experience and changing the way TV and video is consumed. The increasing popularity of services from providers such as LoveFilm, Netflix and Hulu and the more connected devices that are brought to market means this is a technology that cannot be ignored.

“However, the most effective way for operators to monetise these services has yet to be established and will be a highly sensitive discussion point continued within the industry.”

During this year’s show, the dates for next year’s IP&TV World Forum were announced as 20 to 22 March 2012. The success of the 2011 World Forum is reflected in the fact that, by the close of the event, exhibitors had already booked floorspace equivalent to 115 per cent of the 2011 exhibition space for 2012. Visit the IP&TV World Forum 2012 website at www.iptv-forum.com, call +44 (0)20 7017 5506 or follow IP&TV World Forum on Twitter at http://twitter.com/iptvworldseries using hashtag #iptvwf.

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