One news story after another keeps on reinforcing that the landscape for telcos in the UK has shifted dramatically from offering the best deal on a phone line, to an Internet connection, to the best shows and content. As I have consistently emphasised in this blog, the customer does not care about specific upload speeds – they just expect the network to be good enough and the support to be there when they need it.
But content is not easy to create. In the old media landscape, independent production companies would finance and produce shows with the TV channels as customers. This is changing fast, with the example of Amazon Prime deciding to start producing the next generation of Top Gear – with whatever new title they choose – demonstrating that major shows no longer need a terrestrial broadcaster.
ISPs are not content experts. They can buy in sports rights and buy movie libraries, but if they want to be offering new original content then they either need a completely new strategy where they invest in production, or they need to partner with someone that is creating fresh and exciting content.
The Vodafone Spain deal with Netflix appears to follow this principle. The Vodafone TV service will be augmented with Netflix content. This greatly enhances the attractiveness of Vodafone to their customers. But the deal also works for Netflix, as they get access to a large pool of existing service subscribers.
I fully expect to see more partnerships like this be created – and possibly collapse – over the next couple of years. Every Telco realises that customers will expect them to exceed their expectations in terms of content and assume that excellent network speed is a given prerequisite for delivering this.
Photo licensed under Creative Commons by Mike K