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TV Predictions from Streaming Media East

Streaming Media East logo 2009It’s a sign that the TV industry has changed when conversations from the Streaming Media East (SME) conference start sounding an awful lot like they could be transplanted directly from The Cable Show. Yesterday I sat in on an SME session entitled “Online Video and Set-Top Boxes”. With execs from Verizon, Motorola, TiVo and Showtime, the panel talked about how to improve the user experience, and how to make money in the new convergent, interactive video world. Sound familiar?

There were a few new insights worth sharing, however. For example, it turns out Showtime is actually making money from the interactive application the company showed off at The Cable Show last month: a couple million dollars in annual revenue. Someone is making money from interactive television!

And, in keeping with the content delivery network aspect of the show, Verizon exec Joe Ambeault revealed that the operator is working out agreements with various producers to make their content available right at the edge of Verizon’s broadband network. My question: are all telcos destined to become CDNs?

Meanwhile, Motorola’s Nick Chakalos had some very interesting predictions for the audience at the very end of the panel. He believes that we’ll see three things over the course of the next twelve months: unique improvements to TV user interfaces, more content providers experiementing with new delivery models, and new video providers entering the scene to compete with traditional cable, telco, and satellite operators. It’s a brave new world.

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