I'm in love with IPTV


Men of the London Rifle Brigade meet the enemy in no man's land, Christmas Day, 1914 - the Christmas day truce between German and British soldiers at which fraternisation and football were the order of the day.

Sometimes, just sometimes people who are normally at each others throats lay down their arms and come together in a spirit of unity and common purpose

And so it is with WPP conferences, especially those organised by David Muir, a man that in the parlance of the time 'gets it'

Last thursday David pulled together the tribes of WPP for a conference on Internet Protocol TV, which basically meant he dragged some of the brightest coolest people inthe IPTV space into a posh hotel for the benefit of dullards like myself to get up to speed with this stuff. That in a stroke is why WPP is a holding company Jim but not as we know it.

Anyway I'm now officially in love with IPTV as you should be dear reader. Not just the narrowcast distribution of content to our TVs (including addressable advertising - very exciting) but more significantly perhaps broadband TV channels working so far down the long tail they can monetise audiences that are smaller than people in the UK that admit to voting Tory (our Republicans).

If you are interested heres a bunch of stuff to get you going.

For one of the best examples anywhere of brand based IPTV visit Go Beyond TV. This is Land Rover's IPTV channel - part licensed content from Discovery and part self generated content.

At you'll see an IPTV channel built round an audience not a brand - but well on its way to being a significant brand in its own right amongst Reggaeton fans in the Spanglish speaking world.

For a really simple example of IPTV you could do worse than taking a look at Momme.TV - delivering what is often user generated advice to mums and mums to be.

Jump.TV on the other hand doesn't actually create any content itself, but rather repackages ethic TV for migrants, immigrant communities and business travellers who crave a bit of home.

And these days its as easy as blogging frankly. Sure you could built the tech yourself as Go Beyond TV did but its far easier to pop along to and set up an account. Brightcove provide the back end for loads of these channels delivering the site and handling the ad income if yours is an ad funded model.

The hard bit is the idea and the content.

Thats where we come in dear readers.

Truce over.


I like the heavy repetition of war imagery in your blogs, as well as the timely reminder of Christmas too.

Here's an idea WITH content for you:
Idea: A website which is much bigger than everyone else's, so you can watch cinema rather than TV.

Content: An epic serialisation of Watership Down (and beyond) in 3-D. The story would incorporate every other animated animal story, such as Ants, Finding Nemo, Grommit and Bambi. In the future, technology would mean you could actually touch the animals. How's THAT for throwing down the gauntlet?

Now the truce is REALLY over, let's see who picks up the baton. Ha ha!

Posted by: Mrs Belmot at November 20, 2006 01:49 PM

Addressable advertising may be great but the company that you linked to wants me to register before I can view a demo. That says to me that they don't actually get it.

Posted by: John Dodds at November 20, 2006 06:32 PM

Hi chief,

Is the addressable advertising like the Smart TV that Murdoch just announced for Sky?

Posted by: Faris at November 20, 2006 06:46 PM

Yes its exactly the same.

Seems like the US has been able to direct advertising to specific demographics and geographic areas for a while - thats what Visible World do (sorry about the registration requirement on the link). You can place specific copy (e.g. creative vehicles, featured products, offers, prices and calls to action) in specific areas down to someone's zip code.

However, that hasn't been possible in the UK until now. What Sky are talking about is using the location of your set top box (and other information?) to direct bespoke copy to specific audiences. I guess the advertiser would still buy a whole spot but then deliver addressable advertising within that.

Posted by: Richard at November 20, 2006 07:53 PM

Although I may be wrong, I got the feeling from Visible World that they were almost personalising the spots (along the lines of some virals) and I always find that gives them an intrusive feel. The Sky approach seems far more sensible even if I'm still amazed that people who pay for subscription TV are willing to countenance advertising being imposed on the airtime for which they have already paid.

Posted by: John Dodds at November 21, 2006 10:18 AM

I agree with john D.

IPTV is a platform for distributing TV content anytime/any place/anywhere. The main successes will probably be;
1. existing successes in new platforms; eg cricket matches or financial market news on your phone/desktop
2. deep interests; for instance a friend of mine developed an IPTV station for working scientists
3. a further extension of the 'on demand' model

All three cases are not advertiser friendly - and likely to be funded by subsrcription.

It sounds like branded IPTV is the next 'corporate website' wild goose chase. when the web was invented every brand thought it had to build a site. The few that succeeded were viable internet retailers and services and those who invested in standalone media platforms (eg communities) which they 'sponsored'.

It's the old 'advertising vs the rest of us' debate but in a thrilling (addressable) new form! Hands off IPTV I say. You will only get your fingers burnt.


Posted by: John Grant at November 21, 2006 10:40 AM

Come come.

The advertising issue depends on whether you are following an ad funded or subscription model.

I agree that advertising on subscription channels feels a bit shoddy. Notice that Disney Channels carry no advertising - protecting them from the decline in ad revenues for childrens channels that will follow the ofcom ruling.

We were once happy to have our newspapers subsidised by advertisers but maybe increasingly we will want them to adopt a free to read advertising funded model or an ad free subscription model.

There are three reasons that cause me to fast forward through TV ads (beyond my enthusiasm to get back to the programme) - lack of relevance of product, poor quality of communication, repetition. Addressable adveritsing offeres us the chance to reduce the fact that most of the ads that media agencies place (claiming to have done so through a rigorous understanding of the media consumption habits of consumers)are utterly irrlevant to the majority of the audience.

When it comes to broadband IPTV I am not saying run out and get your client to start up a TV station. The vast majority of IPTV stations will exist to serve special interest groups way down the long tail. BTW I don't believe that these will necessarily be advertiser unfriendly as they offer the opportunity for very tight relevance.

There will be clients where IPTV is a relavant course of action (where there is a brand community to be served like Mini in the US or a brand sponsored issue like the Campaign for Real Beauty).

Finally I think increasingly we will stop talking about websites and start talking about channels. In that the web will become dominated by rich media experiences rather than plonky flash environments. IPTV back ends are easy ways to do this.

Posted by: Richard at November 21, 2006 12:09 PM