After a slow start, IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television, has become established as a legitimate pay TV alternative to satellite and cable. Now that several IPTV operators have each attracted more than 2 million subscribers, IPTV has begun to attract the attention of media companies and advertisers that are keen to bring content to any screen that happens to be in the consumer’s hand. And therein lies the rub.
Have we begun a period of fragmentation in which no single service provider owns the subscriber, or, just the opposite: Have technology advances made it possible for individual service providers to serve every screen via a unified service platform? Early indications are that both situations are likely to occur, as the largest operators deploy convergence and personalization tools, while consumers capture what’s missing via the Internet.