Digital Content: The technology is here, but who supplies the content?

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Digital Content: The technology is here, but who supplies the content?
There is a long way to go in the digital content space before there is any ubiquity. From a technical capability standpoint, there is no problem with accessing digital content, all the reports in the media regarding broadband and telecommunication operator’s in-fighting has to do with regulatory issues surrounding ULL pricing or wholesale access to areas where a telecommunications provider has been able to deliver their own infrastructure.

David Cannon, program manager Telecommunications, IDC Australia told CRN the discussion with digital content is really about digital rights management (DRM) and how do content owners/creators ensure that their product is creating the maximum revenue possible via the best delivery method.

The fundamental decision telco providers have to make with regards to digital content is based around being a provider of media or simply re-selling media (i.e. Foxtel).

“Most telco's struggle to deliver on their core services yet alone a completely new product offering that would require significant capital investment. It's a battle between getting content at the right price versus being able to deliver the content in a manner that the consumer will be happy to pay for it,” he said. “This means getting the content to the TV not the PC. The best way to do this is via a set top box (STB) connected to the broadband router.”

According to Cannon, this struggle is very similar to deciding on Foxtel or the soon to be released TiVo.

“A STB allows a provider to be the exclusive provider of ‘on demand media’ to
that TV - of course the pipes need to be big enough to deliver. ADSL2+ can do it and the STB can stream and play at the same time so the customer only needs to wait 30 minutes before they can safely start watching a movie,” he said.

Technically speaking it can be done, but can the service providers do it and do it well?

“That is the big question. Hopefully Apple will soon start to sell movies and TV series via their Australian portal,” he said. “That will demonstrate true user demand for digital media in Australia because it's not a Telstra or Optus solution but a solution that most people (people who have an iPod) will feel comfortable using.”

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