The RICA/RTG Fall Forum, hosted by the Rural Independent Competitive Alliance and the Rural Telecommunications Group, had a panel that analyzed OTT opportunities. “As pressures on traditional revenue sources increase, companies are actively looking for new customer growth and revenue opportunities.” Skitter.TV was a solution discussed by the panel which included Hill Country Telephone and Mosaic Telecom. There is reason for this focus by the rural telecom industry. “The global growth of over the top video services will exceed $1 billion in 2010 and $20 billion in 2014, based on over 40 OTT service operators and device vendors profiled, according to research by MRG.” A recent survey also found that over 65% of respondents believe Internet video will have a moderate to significant impact Next-Gen IPTV distribution models. While there has always been a group of rural carriers that operate on the cutting and sometimes bleeding edge of technological innovation, the rest are concluding that they must provide novel solutions to meet their customers’ information, communications and entertainment needs. This also explains why electronics providers such as Sony, LG, Samsung and Vizio as well as retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart are all increasing their OTT offerings.
Tanya Sullivan is president of Plus One Strategic Communications, a communications firm specializing in the rural communications industry.