In a sign of the times, a major telecommunications provider that once offered an IPTV service has launched an over the top (OTT) service in its place. Spanish telecom Jazztel, which shuttered its IPTV service in 2010, partnered with Prisa and Nagra on a TV service it began offering subscribers in January.
A provider of ADSL2+ and VDSL2-based Internet service in more than 100 Spanish metropolitan areas, Jazztel launched â€œCanal+ Yomviâ€ service under the Jazzbox name. The service is available to Jazztel high-speed data subscribers for Euro 10.95 monthly. It requires an IP set-top box. (For more, in Spanish, see the Jazztel site.)
Jazztelâ€™s original IPTV service, which launched in 2006, had failed to make strong inroads against the dominant IPTV provider. When it closed its Jazztelia service in 2010, it had 11,000 subscribers; Telefonicaâ€™s Imagenio IPTV service counted more than 700,000. A Jazztel spokesman at the time reportedly said the decision would â€œimprove the companyâ€™s operating figures.â€ Jazztel also then announced that it was working on the development of OTT services.
Although the â€œCanal+ Yomviâ€ linear and on-demand video offering to some extent rides â€œover the topâ€ of Jazztelâ€™s own access network, the OTT moniker has become more generally associated with the Internetâ€™s ubiquitous HTTP-based infrastructure. By contrast, â€œtraditional IPTVâ€ is linked to UDP-based multicast.
While an OTT solution provides a way for an ISP like Jazztel to (re)enter and possibly disrupt the market, it also gives a media conglomerate company like Prisa another way to extend its reach.
Prisa serves about 2 million subscribers with its Canal+ satellite platform. Many satellite players have been caught short-handed amid the ongoing consumer demand for video that displays on IP-enabled and mobile devices. Lacking broadband, Prisa opted to go literally over the top of other platforms.
â€œThey wanted to enhance their set-top boxes initially,â€ said Alec Main, VP Software Security for Nagra. â€œSo they started doing over-the-top progressive download to set-top boxes. Then they expanded out to the PC and the iPad for doing streaming. So in this case, theyâ€™re doing HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) for both VOD catalog as well as for linear channels.â€
Main said that Prisa viewed its OTT service initially as an add-on that could help reduce satellite subscriber churn, but it was then opened up to anyone in Spain. Expanding the service to Jazztel, which has close to a million broadband subscribers, was its next step. (The Prisa portfolio includes rights to popular sports programming from Canal+ in Spain.)
Nagra has long provided security technology for European media giant Canal+; in the case of Prisa, it offered its full over-the-top solution.
â€œWe create all the products, do all ingest, feed it into all the encoders for both the progressive download, for the EPG, the streaming, all the metadata for all the VOD,â€ said Main. â€œAnd that all goes onto our SDP (service delivery platform), which publishes all the catalog information and deals with the purchase transactions and then serves up the correct licenses, when needed.
â€œSo we do a lot more with Prisa, than at Canal,â€ he said.