Friday, March 11, 2005

DTT revisited

A super-value reader points me toward an unusual situation up in Norway. NTV, a joint venture between the two leading terrestrial broadcasters and default recipient of the DTT multiplexes awarded in 2002, has asked for an extension of the license period from 12 to 15 years. This had the (probably unexpected and unwelcome) effect of prompting the regulator to open up the consultation process to allow other interested parties in, potentially leading to a beauty contest to reissue the license.

What's different now in 2005 is that DTT is no longer a speculative technology venture. Freeview in the UK has 5m households and is a source of frustration to pay TV players, and in Italy Mediaset is proving the pay-per-view model in a prepaid setting. Now Telecom Italia is co-opting DTT into its new DSL offering, and it will by no means be the last to do so. DTT is potentially a very valuable shortcut to market for telcos to deliver linear TV cheaply and easily, so they can concentrate on the on-demand services over DSL, as I have written before. I'll be very curious to see just how much of a strategic (and political) football (or snowball?) this turns out to be in Norway. Revenge is a dish best served cold...

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