I spent an interesting evening last night at the Chinwag Web TV Takeover event listening to an excellent panel discuss the future of IPTV.

The problem this morning is I’m still no clearer on what it means or when it’s going to matter.

Following on from some time spent on definitions, the majority of the evening involved a discussion of business models and which one(s) had the most merit.

Who cares?

My view is that the business model will be defined by the customer. Will they pay or won’t they? Will they want to download to own (DTO) or simply watch and bin? Will they favour the safety of branded channels or run wild in the IPTV west? These issues we can safely leave in the hands of the viewer.

What the industry must concentrate on is producing unique content designed with this new platform in mind.

It’s not just TV on the web – it’s much, much more. The potential for unique content is enormous, but the industry has to be careful as by just rebroadcasting content it’s going to fail. Viewers will think: “So what? I may as well stick to my existing supplier and use a PVR to timeshift my viewing”.

It may even be that the business model doesn’t really matter as the winner will be the one that gives the viewers a unique experience that existing broadcasters can’t.

I’ll leave you with one final thought from one of the panel, Alexander Cameron, managing director of Digital TX Limited:

“Piracy is a business model and currently it’s winning.”

I couldn’t agree more and it will continue to win as long as the industry fails to deliver what the viewers want.

If you want to find out more about IPTV, E-consultancy is running a

breakfast training session

on September 18th.