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E-business: Next 'killer' services will not include TV.

The next 'killer applications' for broadband internet services are not expected to include online TV programmes or movies, according to a new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Looking ahead to the next three years, it says that the major impact of broadband will be the addition of video to existing applications, such as conferencing, messaging and gaming and the development of applications that rely on user and community-provided video content.

PWC says that compared to satellite and cable networks, broadband internet is inferior for the distribution of feature-length video programming and is unlikely to challenge the existing distribution networks until much later this decade.

But as applications such as weblogs have made clear, the two-way interactive nature of the internet allows consumers to create new content, and broadband will extend this capability beyond text to video.

Between now and 2006, the broadband Internet creates an opportunity for providers to provide video-based content that augments or repackages existing media assets.

However, PWC believes that by the second half of the decade, broadband Internet will be recognised as a fundamentally new mechanism for engaging audiences through its unique characteristics -particularly the greater interactivity made possible by its high speed.

But to successfully compete with TV as a means of delivering video programming, broadband Internet will have to deliver content TV is incapable of carrying -for example, video that provides the viewer with a multiple-points-of-view program -effectively a 30-minute TV episode which can be 'enjoyed for hours as an interactive' experience.

PWC said that the Internet has not yet proved a new source of revenue for professionally developed content, and adding broadband to the mix is unlikely to change this situation in the short term.

Instead, the opportunities created by the broadband Internet over the next few years involve adding video to existing applications, many of which rely on user-contributed content.

These broadband-enhanced applications include sharing video highlights of personal experiences such as family reunions; the addition of video to instant messages, chat, and weblogs; video matchmaking and dating services; video-enhanced multi-person role-playing games and online 'virtual parties'.

The report says although this consumer-created content may not have much commercial value, it has high sentimental value to the participants, leading to revenue opportunities for providers either through production, access, transmission or storage.

The white paper also recommends providers use the next three years to prepare for the eventual migration of content from one-way broadcast to the interactivity of the web.

Content and applications that will generate revenue from a high-bandwidth interactive network are yet to be developed, but providers should make investments now in redesigning their content with an eye toward taking advantage of this enhanced interactivity.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 17, 2004
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