20101210

IPTV in Korea (continued) - until really Smart TV takes over

Yet another update for Korean IPTV*. The market is nearing its second birthday, and the 3M subscribers mark : 2.93M as of December the 5th, according to the regulator (Korea Communications Commission).

Leader KT claims more than half of the pie (1.64M), with SKT a distant second (0.691M), and LGT - now U+ - not far behind (0.597M).

Nice, but not that impressive considering the wide adoption of broadband in the country. But as we saw before, the only 3 IPTV operators have faced many regulatory hurdles... which they deserved as the only 3 mobile network operators.

Note that this trio / kartel created SPOTV, a common channel to lock the rights for major sports. They were probably scared by the SBS revolution in the broadcasting arena : for the first time in the country, one network snatched exclusive rights for major sports events, the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games.

But I guess they are furthermore unwilling to enter a costly war which could also hurt IPTV as a whole. IPTV now claims 30% of digital pay-TV and seriously undermined their cableco rivals, but competition remains fierce, and one new major player will soon modify the broadcasting landscape: now allowed to enter the race, all major press groups are competing for new TV licenses. For the general channel license, Maeil Business Newspaper, Korea Economic Daily and Taekwang Group have little chance against the local giants : JoongAng Media Group, Chosun Ilbo, and Dong-A Ilbo. For the news-only channel, Yonhap faces CBS, Seoul Shinmun, MoneyToday, and Herald Media.

And IPTV set top boxes are already passe : Smart TVs are all the rage, with their handfuls of apps. The next big thing. They're actually quite cool, but you can't even check your email with them. Except of course by coupling these smart monitors with smarter devices.


mot-bile 2010

* see previous episodes, including "IPTV and VoIP in Korea : an update" and "IPTV in Korea: an update"



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