Does anyone else think that mobile companies launching home TV services is a boring story? Various news outlets are reporting today that O2 plans to go head-to-head with rival operator Orange and launch its own IPTV service. A UK trial looms after O2 had a “successful” rollout with a 50 channel service to a whopping 70,000 customers in that hotbed of media, the Czech Republic the last year. O2 bought internet provider Be last year, which has a fast IP network and already has deals with media companies including Warner Bros, HBO and Paramount. But there is the small matter of BT, Sky and Virgin Media to contend with as well as Orange. Plus, consider this: O2 has the rights to the national ice hockey league, the Czech Republic’s favourite sport. The chances of it securing quality football rights in the UK against Sky or BT or Virgin? None.
To me, O2 is throwing money away on TV. TV is not a growth market, the Internet and mobile is. So why don’t they throw all of the investment they plan to put into this white elephant into really powering ahead in mobile? They already exclusively sell the greatest mobile Web browser known to mankind, the one inside the iPhone. One way of leveraging this advantage is to start funding startups to create iPhone applications. They could create an amazing eco-system to support the already significant investment they’ve put into the iPhone.
But no, all we’ll get out of O2 next year is another route to TV shows from which we are increasingly switching off. Good move.