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Published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority
Research background and methodology 3
The Australian experience 4
Delivery models 4
Commercial environment 5
Video services over IP 6
Managed versus best-efforts service delivery 7
The big picture 9
Delivery models 13
Models in the matrix 13
Table 2 Taxonomy of content distribution models: Part 1, Broadcast television 16
Table 2 (continued): Taxonomy of content distribution models: Part 2, IPTV and internet video (websites) 16
Table 2 (continued): Taxonomy of content distribution models: Part 3, Internet video 18
FTA and subscription broadcasters 21
Internet service providers 23
Mobile service providers 25
New entrants 26
Revenue models 28
No charge (no advertising) 28
No charge (advertising supported) 28
Commercial environment 29
Supply/value chain 29
Content supply chain roles and content delivery over IP 30
Content availability 30
International restrictions 31
National Broadband Network (NBN) 32
Convergence of functions 32
Download limits 32
Internet video behaviour 33
Mobile behaviour 35
Future directions 35
This report is intended to provide a basic snapshot of current delivery options for content over IP in Australia.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) regularly undertakes research into technology and service developments in the communications and media industries. This report is concerned with emerging Internet Protocol (IP) distribution methods for commercially developed video content, primarily the delivery of internet video over various devices including the mobile phone, the television and the personal computer (PC). Developments in the delivery of content over IP illustrate pressures occurring as a result of the convergence of the previously distinct platforms by which content is communicated. The ACMA hasidentified convergence occurring across nine areas of regulatory focus and to that end, the ACMA’s research into IP content delivery developments provides information to assist the ACMA in developing potential regulatory responses to convergence issues.1 New IP content delivery models have been enabled in part by the additional bandwidth on IP networks. Both the increased amount of bandwidth available, improved compression rates and the continually evolving processes to deliver content over IP have contributed to an explosion in the availability of film and television content online. With access to a high-speed broadband service, consumers can now download a film in minutes rather than hours. Large content files such as a television program can be streamed over the internet with a reasonable expectation (though no guarantee), of a good viewing experience. The continuing improvement in the content viewing experience over the internet has encouraged the growth in content available over the internet.
At the same time, there has been growth in content delivered through digital television, which utilises existing broadcast spectrum for delivery, rather than IP content delivery (which is the focus of this report). The introduction of additional digital channels such as the Nine Network’s ‘Go!’, Seven Network’s ‘7Two’, Ten Network’s ‘One HD’ and 15 HD channels on Foxtel, have expanded choices and content available to viewers from both Free-To-Air (FTA) and subscription television broadcasters.
This report is concerned with the delivery of content over IP networks. These content delivery services are generally described as either IPTV or internet video services. There are various definitions for IPTV and internet video and these can be fast-changing and fluid.2 While the terms IPTV and internet video can often be used interchangeably, there are important differences between the two. In addition, the term internet video encompasses a wide range of services from user-generated clips to television programs and films delivered over the internet, and can be called different names, including ‘Internet TV’ and ‘Web TV’ depending on the services and content provided.
This report will use the following definitions for IPTV and the ‘Internet TV’ and ‘Web TV’ versions of internet video:
IPTV: This report uses the International Telecommunication Union Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-T) definition of IPTV. The ITU-T defines IPTV as ‘multimedia services such as television/video/audio/text/graphics/data delivered over IP-based networks managed to support the required level of QoS/QoE, security, interactivity and reliability’.3
Internet TV (Internet video): Services that provide both on-demand and catch-up services usually from traditional FTA and subscription television broadcasters. ‘Internet TV’ services often have some level of management over the delivery of the content by the content provider or internet Service Provider (ISP), although the content is still delivered over the open internet.
Web TV (Internet video): Video content delivered over the open internet on a best-efforts basis.
The discussion in this report is restricted to commercially-developed content delivered by internet video such as television programs and films, which are provided with content owner consent (commercially developed content). This definition of commercially developed content only incorporates content shown in its entirety, such as a full-length film or a television program, which excludes short clips of content. The report also excludes pirated material and user-generated material to allow a more comprehensive examination of new content delivery methods that complement and compete with existing modes of delivery, such as FTA and subscription broadcast television.
This report is intended to provide general information to contribute to industry and government understanding of the changing media and communications sectors in Australia. However, the ACMA would welcome any feedback on this report to firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to:
Examples of services and companies are used throughout this report to illustrate points and show who is operating in various market sectors. These examples are not a complete list of all applicable services or companies and the ACMA is not to be taken to be endorsing these services mentioned.