Telecom Italia and Mediaset have announced a strategic agreement that will allow TIMVision customers to watch all Mediaset free-to-air channels, as the telco moves towards the content aggregator role.
The convergence dream is one all telcos are chasing, though few have been able to find the magic formula for the mystic quad-play. This partnership between TIM and Mediaset perhaps shows how the telcos can add value to the content world, as opposed to trying to disrupt it, acting as the link between established players and customers.
As part of the deal, TIMVision customers will be able to access various Mediaset channels including Canale5, Italia1 and Retequattro, and will also be able to access programming from the previous seven days. Customers will be able to access the content from January 2019, as TIM drives the DigiTIM strategy forward, building a content offering which can compete with the traditional players. The difference here is that TIM is attempting to compete on grounds which are more logical.
This is shift in the industry which we have been expecting for a while, as numerous telco and technology firms attempted (unsuccessfully) to diversify revenues by creating content. Orange has been trying it without any massive success, while AT&T is battling the US government to fuel its own ambitions. We question whether attempting to infiltrate the content creator camp is the most logical step forward. Firstly, it is an established industry, and secondly, the way the business operates is completely different on a risk, operational and cultural basis.
TIM is taking the more logical route. It has customers, it has a platform, therefore why not populate that platform with other companies work. These companies are constantly looking for new ways to reach audiences, therefore a consolidated platform with 1.5 million subscribers, which acts as a content aggregator is an attractive proposition. It also plays to the advantages of the telcos; it is a functional business.
The telcos are not creative organizations. EE’s Kevin Bacon/Britney Spears/Ryan Reynolds adverts show there is little to be excited about the creative prospects of these organizations, but an aggregator platform does not require them to be imaginative or implement a bullish-risk approach. It allows them to do what they do best; deliver a functional and efficient service.
Diversification and convergence doesn’t have to be complicated or glamourous, all it has to be is realistic and valuable. This is a perfect example of how a telco can collaborate with an existing ecosystem and add value, without undertaking an unnecessary risk and disruptive strategies.