Two recent announcements of IPTV ‘networks’ in Japan present a possible model for the unbundling of content from traditional networks and the emergence of true IPTV. While the press and media here in the US are chattering about, and trying to predict whether Apple, Google, Microsoft, Tivo, Comcast etc. will enable this model – there is a #1 ISP in Japan that is actually doing it.
Japan has more FTTH subscribers than any country in the world and is the richest ecosystem to observe the impact FTTH has on media evolution. While I agree it is frightening that our broadband future is being trailblazed by the same culture that invented Hello Kitty and the show Tokyo Breakfast it is the most advanced consumer testbed for this technology.
Softbank/Yahoo! is taking on a non-traditional broadcasting role, and plans to deliver content owned by others through a portal. Without a doubt, they also plan to use this position to implement targeted advertising, and this may be the means for compensating the original content provider. This is particularly interesting because Softbank/Yahoo! is also an ISP that is #1 in DSL market share and is trying to deploy FTTH technology. No such entity existed until today – a high speed ISP with a full search/advertising portal. This would be the equivalent of Yahoo! partnering with Verizon to deliver video of high speed fiber connections – something we have not seen – yet.
This is a trend that we are eagerly anticipating and are happy to share its progress with our readers.
More unexpected, but welcome, is the use of the Softbank/Yahoo! portal to claw back the loss of millions of subscribers to NTT’s FTTH service. According to the release, the new video service “Yahoo!Doga” launches in March ’06.