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Under Ericsson’s leadership, Mediaroom gears up for growth in IPTV

Last week, Ericsson closed on its acquisition of Mediaroom from Microsoft. Already the world’s most deployed IPTV platform — serving 13 million viewing households — Mediaroom is now poised to grow as IPTV subscribers are projected to increase by more than 18 percent to 105 million subscribers by 2015.

Mediaroom is based in Mountain View, CA, with more than 400 people worldwide. The former Mediaroom business unit, including staff, is being integrated into the Ericsson group under the Business Unit Support Solutions, and is now called Ericsson Mediaroom.

Pete Thompson, corporate vice president at Mediaroom, moved to the new company from Microsoft. He said the television business is in the midst of one of the most dynamic periods of change in decades.

“We are in the early days of this innovation cycle,” Thompson said. “At Mediaroom, we are investing where the market is heading. We believe that includes a combination of the quality of experience and content depth of Pay TV with the personalization, interactivity and multi-screen viewing capabilities of the OTT start-ups.”

From the nearly 60 IPTV operators Mediaroom works with, a differentiated TV experience is playing a significant role in the operator’s business success, Thompson said.

“We know that a compelling TV offering drives higher broadband attachment,” he said. “In fact, AT&T publicly reported that more than 90 percent of new U-verse TV customers also signed up for U-verse high-speed Internet. About 70 percent of AT&T U-verse TV subscribers take three or four services from AT&T. ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) for U-verse triple-play customers continues to be more than $170.”

He said Mediaroom sees the next generation of TV experiences being built atop three concepts.

“First, we believe content should be easy to discover and enjoy," he said. "Next-generation TV will deliver socially connected, highly personalized experiences with recommendations based on your viewing habits, social connections, search behavior and opt-in preferences driven by big data and analytics to build a hyper-targeted viewing experience.

“Second, it shouldn’t matter where you are or what screen you’re in front of; your TV experience should be there. All connected endpoints should get premium TV content, consumers should have the ability to consume that content outside the home, and those TV experiences should feel the same on every device.

“And third, we believe TV should be an increasingly immersive experience. Whether you’re sitting back and relaxing, or are on the edge of your seat, the second screen will be critical to providing a deeper experience with the primary screen. We expect to see increasing levels of gamification and interactive touch points for consumers, with built-in metadata and rich analytics that drive the frictionless personalization users will come to expect and demand.”

As to new technology and trends driving IPTV, Thompson said they include analytics driven by big data to optimize business decisions; the ability to develop and deploy new services at Internet speed; and new ways to scale with efficiency so new investments can be managed quickly and cost-effectively.