The story of telcos getting into the triple play business is nothing new. We noted a few years ago that the cable guys had the early lead, since it was much, much, much easier for them to just add VoIP to a TV/broadband bundle than for the telcos to figure out a way to add TV to a phone/broadband bundle. The telcos tried to take a shortcut by partnering with satellite TV providers, but that doesn't allow them to have a truly bundled solution, and takes away many of the advantages. So, now, with AT&T and Verizon pushing hard to upgrade to fiber and offer TV over it, the NY Times is taking a look at the challenges both companies face -- mainly in signing content deals. The thing that's most striking about the article, though, is how it looks like they're taking a typical broadcast view of things -- basically trying to just replicate what cable offers, perhaps with more channel choices. However, that seems silly. With fiber they have the opportunity to offer a completely different experience that the consumer can't get from cable. Why not offer a much more interactive experience, where the user could really "subscribe" to any shows they wanted, regardless of what channel its on? The channel is an outdated concept, and the telcos have the chance to prove that -- but it looks like they're not even trying. Of course, the obvious response is that it's the TV networks who won't allow this to happen, and maybe that's true, but the telcos should be pushing hard for this -- and the idea that they don't have enough clout to pull this off is laughable. They'll clearly be in a position to offer plenty of subscribers along with lots of advertising dollars.
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