Several of IDATE’s DigiWorld Institute members took a business trip to the United States on 18 and 19 September, to attend the 2014 edition of our Transatlantic Telecom Dialog in New York, an annual event that we co-host with our partner, CITI, which is headed by Professor Eli Noam of Columbia University.
This trip also provided an opportunity to prepare for the launch of a Collaborative Research Programme being conducted in tandem with our Members. This think tank will be held in Brussels and devoted to the topic, “Telecoms USA: role-model or counter-model?" Before attending the Dialog, we travelled to Washington D.C. to meet with several FCC representatives, as well as the Public Affairs and Regulation teams from AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent and Verizon.
Back home at IDATE, I wanted to share a few thoughts on three hot-button issues that are attracting a great deal attention in America’s telecommunications sector:
• Superfast broadband competition rules
• Spectrum auctions and mobile market competition
• Will the net neutrality soap opera ever end?
1. How to prevent cable from having a monopoly over the supply of superfast access in a number of locations a few years from now?
We can start by remembering that, in the early 2000s, the Republicans went a long way in defanging the Telecom Act, banking instead on intermodal competition between telcos and cablecos to sustain the construction of superfast access infrastructure. In doing so, they abandoned the idea of imposing unbundling obligations like the ones we have in Europe. As a result, the leading operators began making sizeable investments around 2005 in deploying fibre and hybrid access networks. At the same time, the cable companies that serve 90% of households upgraded their (DOCSIS 3) systems to deliver ever faster connections. But cable progressed quickly, whereas telcos soon shifted their focus to mobile network rollouts, particularly these past three years as the LTE battle has heated up. The footprint of the leading carriers’ upgraded networks has expanded very little since then. And cable’s share of the broadband access market, which today stands at 60%, continues to increase steadily. In a recent talk, the Chairman of the FCC presented and commented on this following graph that shows that 79% of households have access to a connection of 50 Mbits and up, but that only 17.6% of them are covered by more than one provider.
What trump cards does the FCC hold to “encourage” telcos to step up their superfast broadband rollouts?
• Google? Of course Google does not want to do business with a single ISP. As a result, in Kansas City and later several more cities, the company began to build 1 Gbit/s networks – under the notable condition that residents in the targeted neighbourhoods explicitly express their interest in having it. Nobody thinks that Google plans to deploy fibre across the country. But its initiative has roused the interest of municipalities, in addition to helping set 1 Gbit/s as the new threshold for high-speed access.
• What bout the municipalities? There had been a handful of initiatives from cities in the past, but several of them failed to reach their potential. Added to which a number of states considered that these city-led rollouts constituted unfair competition with the private sector, and virtually forbade them. The FCC’s new chairman now wants to review these bans.
• Quid pro quo negotiations to shut down the (TDM) POTS and transition to an all IP system. This is a sensitive and legitimate part of telcos’ development strategy, but one that the states are watching very closely, and not a little warily. The FCC authorised AT&T to test two TDM network shut downs, one in rural Alabama and the other in suburban Florida. As in Europe, where stakeholders are talking openly about phasing out legacy copper systems (and switching to fibre), the goal is to test the problems encountered by the lines that outfit lifts, security systems, etc.
• The conditions that anti-trust authorities might impose on several mega-mergers that are being examined: Comcast/Time Warner Cable, AT&T/DirecTV…
• The FCC can also underline the competition aspect of 4G and 4G+ (frequency aggregation, MIMO antennae, small cells). Encouraged too by the growing number of announcements in Google’s wake of 1 Gbit/s networks being made available here and there (but especially in areas coveted by Google) in recent months by AT&T, Century Link and Cox Cable. The previous FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, had called for the deployment of one network per state delivering a minimum 1 Gbit/s by the end of 2015. But these recent deployments do not appear to foreshadow any great increase in wireline telcos’ Capex: a market analyst in fact suggested they could be dubbed FTPR (Fiber To The Press Release) rollouts…
To finish on this point, we will underline that the gap (1) in market growth between Europe and the US, which up until now had been mainly in the mobile sector, appears to be spreading into residential wireline as well. America’s two largest carriers, AT&T and Verizon, are on the verge of putting an end to 10 straight years of shrinking revenue. This is very directly the result of an increase in triple play customers in their upgraded markets (U-Verse and FiOS) and the $150+ ARPU they generate. Provided the video services that are central to this ARPU prove profitable, telcos could decide it is in their interest to step up their spending on wireline networks, and expand their superfast access footprint. This is indeed one of the central aims of the planned mergers between AT&T and DirecTV, like the one between Comcast and Time Warner Cable (2), namely to bolster their power with the studios when negotiating programming rights.
2. How to better monetise spectrum while removing it as a bargaining chip in M&A deals?
The AWS-3 auctions will be taking place on 13 November, and will be the biggest since the 700 MHz band auctions in 2008. On the block are 65 MHz in three frequency bands: 1695-1710MHz (unpaired uplink), 1755-1780Mhz and 2155MHz-2180MHz (these last two are to be paired to provide uplink/downlink operations). The FCC has set a total reserve price of $10.587 billion. This takes into account that the bulk of the first two frequency bands are currently occupied by federal government services, including the DoD, and that it will take several years to complete the handover, or coordinate licensed shared access (LSA) (3). AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Dish Networks, along with local and rural operators, have all expressed their interest in taking part in these auctions. Not so Sprint which, unlike its competitors, has no AWS-3 adjacent frequencies, so will not be taking part.
But discussions in recent months have focused especially on strengthening the competition policies that the FCC could impose on the auctions, and on the spectrum trading market. These provisions currently make up the points of review in the regulator’s 'spectrum screen'. In an order issued in June, the FCC expanded this provisos by stressing the particular value of lower frequency bands, i.e. below 1 GHz, after having recalled that the country’s two largest carriers today control more than 70% of allocated spectrum. For the upcoming AWS-3 auctions, which do not concern these frequencies but rather bands that are currently shared by a host of players, no specific conditions have been defined to limit any given company’s access to them (4). For so-called incentive auctions in the 600 MHz band, however, which are slated for 2015, a reserve of a maximum 30 MHz will be set for each market on the block. The ultimate size of this reserve will nevertheless be contingent on meeting the reserve price set by the FCC for the market. National carriers (as opposed to local and regional ones) that control more than a third of below 1 GHz-band frequencies in this market will not be able to take part in the auctions for this reserved spectrum. The FCC has also set the proviso of precluding secondary market sales of this spectrum, to ensure that parties not eligible to take part in the incentive auctions, or sales that would enable an entity to control more than a third of below 1 GHz spectrum, cannot acquire licences to the reserve frequencies during that time. It should be mentioned that these provisos did not receive unanimous support within the FCC, and that the two Republic commissioners voted against them.
It is interesting to note that while the FCC is concerned about local and rural cellular operators’ future, which probably serve less than 5% of mobile users today but can cover a much higher percentage of the physical landmass, we are seeing more and more roaming agreements being signed between the four national operators and these smaller regional carriers. In the race to expand their footprint, the big national operators are in fact leasing their spectrum to small rural operators so they can provide LTE coverage. So there is at once an agreement on the terms and conditions for leasing spectrum and on roaming prices, which has enabled one million national ISP subscribers to enjoy coverage in rural areas, while the tens of thousands of users who subscribe with local operators have access to national operators’ infrastructure. We understand that the FCC does not currently regulate these agreements. Verizon and Sprint have apparently got a head start here, having signed 21 agreements for 2.3 million PoP, including 18 for LTE in the 700MHz and AWS-1 bands, and around 30 agreements for 4 million PoP in the 2.5MHz band, respectively.
We will wrap up this quick summary of the latest news from the US mobile market by listing some of the other topics that are attracting attention:
• cable companies’ ongoing investment in Wi-Fi hot/home spots, with roaming agreements between the two, and the prospect of entering the cellular market by positioning themselves as MVNO to complete their infrastructure;
• the debate triggered by Qualcomm on using LTE (vs. Wi-Fi) on open (i.e. licence-free) spectrum;
• confirmation of the onset of, if not a price war, increasingly lively competition in the mobile market since the Sprint/T-Mobile merger was cancelled. While we were there, Sprint rolled out an unlimited voice-SMS-data plan priced at $50 a month;
• the massive queues outside the Apple store in Manhattan, and the huge boost that VoLTE could give to iPhone 6 sales.
3. Will the net neutrality soap opera ever end?
Here again, we need to go back to the 2002 decision that classified cable modem access as an “information service” rather than a Title II service under the Telecom Act, which would make it subject to common carriage obligations – a designation that was then abolished for all access services in 2005, including telcos’ ADSL services. This decision snowballed, and the FCC’s successive bids to enforce net neutrality –Chairman Powell’s four Internet freedoms in 2004, the Internet Policy statement in 2005 and the Open Internet Order in 2010 – had to be defended in court, following law suits filed by Comcast and Verizon.
Today, and following the ruling handed down early this year by the Federal Court in Washington, there are no longer any regulatory provisions that prevent an ISP from being a gatekeeper.
It was under these circumstances that the FCC began a 120-day consultation on the future of net neutrality this past spring. It received more than 3 million responses. The ensuing debates in the blogosphere and at industry conferences are focusing on several issues.
A legal decision needs to be found that avoids disqualifying the FCC’s core principles. There are two options here: either agree to repeal the earlier decisions, and reclassify Internet access as a Title II service under the Telecom Act, or enforce Section 706 of the Telecom Act more extensively. Section 706 vests the FCC with the authority to encourage the deployment of broadband infrastructure, and eliminate the barriers to development and competition in this market.
In addition to these interpretations of the Telecom Act, approval for the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mergers could carry case-by-case obligations aimed at preserving the Open Internet. It is worth remembering that the FCC used the Comcast-NBC merger as an just such an opportunity.
Alongside these somewhat technical questions, debates over the past few weeks have also focused on the following points:
• Should mobile access also be subject to net neutrality rules (which it has always managed to avoid)?
• After this summer’s polemics over the paid peering deals struck between Netflix and the top ISPs, should interconnection between content providers and ISPs be covered by net neutrality rules?
Also noteworthy is the debate that followed AT&T’s sponsored data API proposal, i.e. to have content/service providers sponsor the traffic delivered to consumers’ devices – an idea that was more less picked up by T-Mobile.
We will end by mentioning that all of these unresolved issues are fostering a certain curiosity in how things are being handled in Europe.
Perhaps because he was the head of the cable lobby, and later a CEO for mobile operators, which was pointed out repeatedly during his nomination hearings, in his many pronouncements the new FCC Chairman (5) has been keen to impress that he wants to strengthen competition policies. He has addressed all aspects of the debate relatively explicitly. While nonetheless taking the chance of dashing some of the hopes that he himself kindled, within a complicated political and institutional situation – and one where he is regularly reminded that the FCC has to answer to Congress.
1 There is also a gap in terms of market structure. Even though there are four national mobile operators in the United States, AT&T and Verizon are only very large regional residential carriers. The idea of fixed-mobile convergence, typified by merger and acquisition deals in Europe such as SFR/Numéricable and Vodafone/Deutsche Kabel-Ono, do not appear to be in the cards for the US market. Nor, as far as we can tell, are quadruple-play bundles.
2 It is not the only one. The deal would enable immediate synergies in managing bundles, including DBS for customers not covered by U-Verse. It also has an international diversification component, given DirecTV’s sizeable footprint in South American markets that AT&T is interested in.
3 Licensed Shared Access, or ASA (Authorized Shared Acess) in US. Worth noting is that debates continue ver what form ASA will take in the 3.6 GHz band.
4 If there is no reserve spectrum in the AWS-3 auctions, certain provisions, such as dividing frequency bands into 2 X 5 MHz blocks, are aimed at satisfying the needs of smaller regional operators.
5 Tom Wheeler was nominated for Chairman of the FCC by President Obama, and confirmed by the Senate in November 2013.
Online advertising expected to account for 33% of all media advertising by 2018
IDATE has just released its report and database dedicated to the world online advertising market. This report provides an analysis of today’s key online advertising trends and technologies (including privacy issues, retargeting, VRM, new data measurement techniques, etc.) and includes an overview of the world leaders and their KPIs (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo!). It takes a look at they key markets for monetizing online advertising, including search, display, mobile, RTB, social networking and video in 15 countries, including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, India, Russia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and the United States.
The global online advertising market will be worth more than 160 billion EUR by 2018, enjoying an 11.4% annual growth rate from 2010 to 2014. IDATE expects a steady increase in this market for the coming years: 9.7% annual growth up to 2018.
IDATE Consultant Soichi Nakajima, who managed the production of this report, points out that “we expect the breakdown of advertising formats to remain unchanged in the five coming years. Whilst the search market is already a stable market, largely dominated by Google across the globe, overall revenue for the display market is expected to increase slightly over time, with much more competition in terms of players fighting for market share.”
Global online advertising revenue (billion EUR) and its share (%) of total media advertising revenue, 2010-2018
Major trends in the advertising market include:
• Mobile advertising expected to account for 20% of online advertising by 2018 with an expected +50.1% annual growth rate from 2014 to 2018.
• Social advertising forecast to account for 14% of online advertising by 2018, with a +39.8% annual growth rate from 2014 to 2018.
• OTT video advertising expected to account for 9% of online advertising by 2018 with +21.8% annual growth rate from 2014 to 2018.
• Global RTB advertising market accounting for 30% of display advertising, thanks to an annual growth rate of 32.7% from 2014 to 2018.
Close-up on mobile advertising: mobile ad market an extension of the fixed
The tools and technologies of fixed online advertising can be re-used for mobile, which means that Google could easily carry its dominance of the fixed market over to mobile. On the other hand, in-app tools and technologies have to be created from scratch. In-app advertising, which is unique to mobile, makes up 20% of the current market. Plus a great many apps are games, promoting their paid services rather than displaying actual ads.
Current global market breakdown: search vs. display advertising on the fixed and mobile Internet, in 2014
- If you want to come to our seminar "TV Everywhere" during the Digiworld Summint 2014 wednesday november 18.
Yves Gassot Directeur Général, IDATE
‘‘Mobility reloaded” will be the central theme of the 36th annual DigiWorld Summit.
Following through on ‘‘Game Changers’’ (2012) and ‘‘Digital Gold Mines’’ (2013), this year’s theme will allow us to further our examination of current and future upheavals in the digital economy by exploring the issues from a specific angle: mobility and its impact on user behaviour and on the value chain for telecoms, TV, advertising, the Internet, gaming, smart cities, etc.
- What innovations can we expect from mobile Internet disruption?
- Are fixed and mobile superfast access interchangeable?
- What new players and business models will emerge from the Internet of Things and mobile advertising?
- Will mobile devices turn TV into a one-to-one business?
- How can Europe get back in the game?
IDATE Chairman François Barrault points out that, ‘If the cloud, big data and the Internet of things are clearly the major disruptions looming on the horizon, the momentum today lies in the mantra: mobility first!’
IDATE CEO, Yves Gassot, details the key points of this year’s programme: ‘What began with the swift commercial success of 4G is segueing into the spectacular technological leaps expected from LTE-advanced and, beyond that, the prospect of 5G, the widespread adoption of software-driven networking (SDN)… But questions also linger over the accelerated pace of the migration from the fixed to the mobile Internet, spurred by the massive popularity of smartphones and tablets, coupled with the surge of emerging economies. It goes without saying that a great many stakeholders are being affected by these massive changes in the landscape, which we have chosen to explore from three angles: How revenue is progressing for mobile operators and other players, from M2M to the Internet of things and beyond; How the massively mobile Internet will affect the advertising ecosystem; and how TV industry players are positioning themselves now that video accounts for an increasingly large share of mobile traffic’.
The 36th annual DigiWorld Summit will run from 18 to 20 November in Montpellier, France, and play host to a panel of international industry luminaries who will share their views with more than 1,300 participants from 30 countries. IDATE analysts will lend their expertise to the sessions that will be moderated by Digiworld Institute members.
DigiWorld Week: the DigiWorld Summit broadens its horizons
This year’s DigiWorld Summit will kick off DigiWorld Week: a new initiative from IDATE and its key partners to explore the many facets of the digital society’s core economic issues. A series of exciting events will be taking place from 16 to 21 November on either side of the core two-day Summit:
- The Connected Things Forum
- The Game Summit
- MIG (Montpellier In Game)
- Industry Oracles
- Economic Club on m-payment
> Find the latest programme updates at www.digiworldweek.com
More than 140 speakers on hand
This year, we are delighted to welcome speakers from the four corners of the globe, come to share their views on the future of mobility:
- Mikael BÄCK, Vice President Global Strategy & Portfolio Management of Ericsson will share some of the chief findings of the “Mobility report”.
- Jean-Michel FOURNIER, CEO & Co-Founder of BitGym, a San Francisco-based start-up and winner of the prestigious Auggie Award at AWE 2014, will talk about the “quantified self” phenomenon.
- Kayvan MIRZA, CEO & Co-Founder of Optinvent will unveil his approach to new generation smart glasses.
- Patrick PELATA, EVP & Chief Automotive Officer of Salesforce.com will speak with Thierry VIADIEU, New Mobility Program Director from Renault, about the future of connected cars.
- Christophe WILLEM, Senior VP of Strategy & Marketing at Thales Alenia Space, will tell us if drones, balloons and mini-satellites offer viable solutions for connecting huge swaths of the population to the Internet.
- Michel COMBES, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent will close the “Road to 5G” session, whose speakers include Selina LO, President & CEO of Ruckus Wireless, and Atsushi TAKESHITA, President & CEO of DOCOMO Communication Laboratories Europe.
- Pierre LOUETTE, Deputy CEO of Orange and Carlos LOPEZ-BLANCO, Global Head Public & Corporate Affairs for Telefonica, will discuss how telco business models will evolve in Europe, against the backdrop of market consolidation.
- Laurent SOLLY, Facebook’s Managing Director France, and Benny ARBEL, Founder & CEO of MyThings, a rising star in retargeting, will discuss the challenges that advertising faces as it makes the transition to mobile.
- Luc JULIA, VP & Innovation Fellow of Samsung and Co-authored Apple Siri's core patents, Erick TINICO, Director of Mobility at AT&T, one of the world’s most advanced telcos and Axel HANSMANN, Gemalto’s VP of M2M Strategy & Marketing, will share their analysis of new business models for M2M and the IoT.
- Fu SHENG, CEO of Cheetah Mobile, a growing mobile Internet powerhouse in China, with 340 million users.
- Abigail KHANNA, Head of Digital and Future Media Business Development at the BBC, Steve McCAFFERY, GM & SVP of sales for Europe Arris, Eric SCHERER, Director of Future Media, France Télévisions, and Valery GERFAUD, General Manager, M6 Web, will explore what the future holds for television, now that mobile devices are becoming users’ screen of choice.
- Guillaume de FONDAUMIERE, Co-CEO of Quantic Dream, Susan O’CONNOR, a writer whose script credits include the games BioShock 1 & 2, Far Cry 2, Tomb Raider and Star Wars 1313, along with Charles CECIL, co-founder of Revolution Software, creator of Broken Sword, are among our video game Oracles.
- Meng LI, Director of China Telecom’s Mobile Business Department Europe, will talk to us about the development outlook for mobile in its various forms in the world’s biggest market.
- Jean-Ludovic SILICANI will talk about his time as Chairman of France’s telecoms and postal regulator, ARCEP, and share his insights into key issues going forward.
- Vincent LE STRADIC, Managing Director of Lazard, will provide a financier’s perspective on the health of Europe’s digital economy. And…
- Axelle LEMAIRE, French Ministry of State for Digital Affairs will deliver the Summit’s closing remarks.
Consultant at IDATE
Average household spending on cultural goods worldwide decreased from €75.50 to €71.60 between 2010 and 2013
Electronic distribution allows households to spend less on any cultural products they buy or rent individually. The gap in price is especially significant in those industries where the cost of producing a hard copy heavily influences its retail price.
As a result, between 2010 and 2013, average household spending on cultural goods worldwide decreased from €75.50 to €71.60 a year. This figure nevertheless includes sizeable regional disparities:
• in North America, average annual spending on all types of content combined has actually increased, going from €327.30 per household in 2012 to €328.40 in 2013;
• households in Asia/Pacific and Latin America are also spending more, with average entertainment budgets rising, respectively, from €35.80 per household/year to €39.10 per household/year, and from €31.70 per household/year to €34.10 per household/year between 2010 and 2013;
• meanwhile Europe and Africa/the Middle East are reporting a sizeable decrease in average household spending on cultural products: -10.6% and -15.6%, respectively, over the past three years.
Deputy Managing Director
Director of TV & Digital Content Business Unit
At a time when Netflix is shaking up classic video distribution models, IDATE is delivering an analysis of ongoing disruptions in TV content distribution.
The television industry is having to contend with a major game changer, namely increasingly individualised viewing. This change is upending the industry’s longstanding mass media model, but also paving the way for new business models and a new period of growth.
Individual TV viewing also represents a dual opportunity: to transform the household market into individual markets, and to capitalise on the shift from mass advertising to more relevant targeted advertising.
This growing individualisation is part of the "cloudification" of the technical chain that makes it possible to better serve multi-network and multi-device behaviours, and of the process of adapting services to find the right interplay between linear and on-demand TV, to re-monetise catch-up TV, and to develop the SVoD and electronic sell-through (EST) markets.
IDATE has developed three scenarios to describe and quantify the potential impact of this tremendous change in video content markets:
• a growth scenario: "the new golden age" where the increasing individualisation of video consumption and Internet access leads to the creation of a market for individual subscriptions, and where video – both linear and on-demand – becomes a medium of choice for advertisers;
• a scenario of stagnation: “business as usual” wherein pay-TV plans remain largely monolithic, where on-demand products hold little appeal and TV’s ad revenue suffers from advertisers moving a portion of their spending over to the Web;
• a negative scenario of "commoditisation," characterised by an accelerated migration from a paid to a free model, and TV losing its relevance as an advertising medium.
The three TV/video market development scenarios applied to the US (billion €)
Would you like to discover ou study Futur TV 2025 ? Go to our store !
Soichi NAKAJIMA, Senior Consultant
Just under 1.4 billion smart meters (electricity, gas and water combined) deployed worldwide in 2018
IDATE reviews the state of smart meter rollouts in various countries (Europe, USA and Japan), which form the first steps of eventual national scale smart grids. Whilst electricity meters are at the forefront of such rollouts, gas and water must also be considered. The drivers and barriers for this market are assessed, and forecasts are made for the number of smart meters to be deployed and the resulting cellular connectivity revenues, up to 2018. Finally, some future paths which may be explored for expansion into smart grids are examined.
IDATE forecasts that there will be a total of just under 1.4 billion smart meters (electricity, gas and water combined) deployed worldwide in 2018, up from roughly 500 million in 2013; a CAGR of 22.7%. Many countries now have regulation in place which targets close to 100% replacement of current ‘dumb’ meters to smart ones by 2020, and such regulations are the primary driver of smart meter rollouts.
The technological composition of communication for smart meters is divided into two main parts; the HAN (or last mile) and the WAN (or backhaul), and the approach differs from country to country. For example, the UK has specified Zigbee as the HAN technology and cellular as the WAN (with the exception of northern GB) for both electricity and gas, whereas in France the technologies specified for electricity and gas differ. In Germany, there are no specific regulations requiring replacing dumb meters with smart ones (just that new meters must be smart), and the technology is for utilities to choose. The main deciding factor for smart metering technology is thus regulation, and if not specified by regulation it is up to the utilities to decide. Whilst most countries have plans for smart electricity meters, there are fewer for gas and for water they are still rare.
There are various technologies which could be deployed for both HAN and WAN, and the main area of interest for telcos lies in providing cellular connectivity for the WAN, with their already-established networks covering large areas of the country. However, they face competition from other technologies such as PLC and RF mesh. Particularly in the USA, RF mesh had been a popular choice due to availability at low costs, whereas cellular proved expensive. However, such cellular prices have now come down significantly, from an ARPU typically over 5 EUR to now 0.5 EUR in some cases. Thus with the price now proving more attractive, telcos are increasingly becoming the WAN technology of choice, which can be expected to remain reliable for the foreseeable future. This is particularly important as the life expectancy of meters is long, in the region of ten years or more. Indeed, smart meter vendors, such as Elster and Silver Spring Networks have shifted their future connectivity plans to cellular as opposed to RF mesh. Finally, the migration to LTE allowing for higher throughput is also a positive factor in the long term when considering the smart grid.
Looking further ahead, smart meters are in fact the first steps of building a national electrical smart grid, on top of which various services and applications can be built upon. This involves various actors along the value chain, from meter vendors to network providers, system integrators and all the way up to the service providers. Here, telcos have the potential of providing ‘smart-grid-as-a-service’ to the utilities; a packaged, end-to-end smart grid solution, where the telco takes care of the overall integration and running of the solution. This is a particularly effective strategy for the medium- and smaller-sized utilities (such as municipalities and co-operative utilities), as they can outsource the large majority of resources and equipment which would simply be too expensive to provide by themselves. Such projects have already started in the USA, since 2013 with AT&T on the one hand and Verizon on the other. Telcos do however face competition from other market players, such as General Electric and Silver Spring Networks which also offer such integrated solutions.
It will also be interesting to monitor entities which offer both utility and connectivity services (such as the triple play of Internet, TV and phone). Such entities tend to be municipalities and regional providers, and do not combine these services. However, as smart metering becomes more standard, there is the potential of packaging these two services (utilities and connectivity) as one, to create advantages over their rivals.
Deputy Managing Director
Director of TV & Digital Content Business Unit
It is no secret that the shift to digital has had a huge impact on the music sector: the multiplication of distribution channels, the shift from owning albums to listening on the fly, along with piracy have resulted in a significant drop in revenue for the sector, the arrival of new unlimited music services and, more generally, the core revenue stream shifting from the sale of recorded music to exploiting all of the rights attached to an artist.
The role of live performance has also changed. While it has always been a special event, providing a venue for fans to meet the bands as well as being a promotional vehicle, concerts had long been a by-product of records. Today, they have become not only essential revenue streams, but also an essential means for music lovers to discover artists, and for artists to develop their careers. In addition to the their growing weight in music industry economics, the live concert market is also being affected by the internet: the use of social media to promote an event, online ticket sales, the importance of metadata in creating and maintaining ties with fans, new forms of interaction during concerts, etc.
Among these many developments, digital technologies open up new opportunities in the realm of recording and broadcasting concerts. As with recorded music, video, news and now books as well, the rise of digital and the web is steadily creating new ways to distribute recordings of live concerts, which had long been the sole dominion of a handful of TV channels, and so confined to only the most popular artists. The proliferation of online distribution channels is already driving up demand. At the same time, on the supply side of the equation, new, cheaper recording and distribution solutions continue to lower the barriers to entry. So more and more players are getting in the game. They are coming from new sectors of the digital ecosystem: pure player concert sites, internet giants, telecom and consumer electronics industry players… but very few live event organisers.
It is within this new environment that IDATE was commissioned by musical, concert and variety show union, PRODISS, to provide an analysis of what impact digital technologies are having on live performance.
> The report and its summary (in French) are available online at: www.proscenium.fr/thinktank/
Deputy Managing Director
Director of TV & Digital Content Business Unit
Original production in the US had long been the fiefdom of the top TV networks and a limited group of premium cable pay-TVs. Today, however, all cable channels are developing an original production policy, operating alongside their reruns of series produced by the big networks.
Some of the most popular series in the United States have been produced not by these heavyweights, or by HBO: Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead (AMC), The Americans (FX), Rectify and Top of The Lake (Sundance).
This new strategy has been especially profitable for AMC which originally aired only reruns: in 10 years, its earnings from cablecos has gone from $0.22 to $0.35 a month per subscriber.
Consultant at IDATE
IDATE estimates that industry losses due to the various forms of illegal video consumption – namely P2P, downloads and streaming – totalled €6.3 billion in Europe in 2013, which translates into 37.8% increase from 2010 to 2013.
The main reason for this rise in online video piracy is the lack of attractive video on-demand (VoD) services in Europe, which is due in large part to:
• a very scattered offering, which is hard for users to navigate through;
• the fact that legacy pay-TV providers have captures the rights for the most premium content, and are taking a defensive approach to new distribution channels;
• very few online sales options;
• certain regulatory restrictions, such as the media chronology in France and Germany for feature films.
The VoD sector’s consolidation, and the inroads being made by American companies, especially in the subscription VoD segment, is expected to breathe some life into Europe’s video-on-demand market, and contribute indirectly to scaling back users’ reliance on piracy. IDATE estimates that industry losses due to piracy should decrease by 6.5% between 2014 and 2018.
Head of Research, Telecoms Business Unit, IDATE
From less than 40 EUR to more than 100 EUR per month for 100 Mbps access
IDATE’s latest report focuses on the services offered by telecom and cable operators via their FTTx infrastructures. It analyses the various speeds offered, the services included in the offering, pricing tiers and also highlights disparities between regions.
The speed race has not yet reached the finish line
Over the past few months, many operators have announced the launch of new offerings with even higher speeds, thanks to their FTTH/B networks. In the space of six months, no fewer than five operators in Europe have launched 1 Gbps offerings! Up until then, 100 Mbps was considered the norm for ultra-fast broadband (UFB), but now there are many offerings with 300, 400 or 500 Mbps speeds. These are not always very visible and are sometimes not even available as part of a bundle (this is the case with Verizon's 500 Mbps offering, which is only available as a stand-alone service). However, this strategy allows telecom operators using FTTH to differentiate themselves better from cable operators whose peak speeds are normally around 150 to 200 Mbps.
Segmentation of services: speeds and TV/video services prioritised
UFB players do not always go for strong segmentation based on available speeds. As a general rule, plans are built around 3 to 4 speeds, but for some, the offering is limited to 1 or 2 speeds, continuing on from the positioning they adopted in the traditional broadband market.
As for TV and video services, segmentation is sometimes stronger due to providing customers with themed packages (sports, movies, kids), especially for players from English-speaking countries. Generally speaking, telecom and cable operators from English-speaking countries have a very specific approach because they mainly promote video services and TV channels. Speed is only a secondary selling point. Their offerings are characterised by an increasing number of plans available with the ability to customise bundles (or, for more pragmatic players, to help select a pre-configured bundle).
In other regions, the approach seems more pragmatic, with fewer bundles and a more limited choice for end users.
With a lack of innovative services, prices are remaining stable
None of the players studied here offers a particularly innovative service. Most bundle add-ons, such as new set-top box features, cloud-based storage, antivirus, etc., are systematically added to the basic offering. Therefore, operators are unable to differentiate themselves from each other. A very small number of players, such as Altibox in Norway and HKBN in Hong Kong, are exploiting the technical characteristics of FTTH networks to offer genuinely differentiated services with symmetric upload/download speeds. In the short term, it seems very likely that speed (including symmetry, guarantees, faster speeds) will remain the main area to exploit for UFB operators.
This should impact prices offered, which have remained relatively stable in each of the major regions over the past year.