With Growing Appetite for Content, AT&T Navigates the Great Video Convergence

Published: 23 November 2013 04:26 PM
Updated: 23 November 2013 08:25 PM

More and more, AT&T Inc. is becoming a creator of content, not just a conduit.

From aspiring filmmakers to the Dallas Cowboys, from lip-syncing country music fans to the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, the giant Dallas-based telecom is supporting efforts that produce video and other content that can be viewed on its networks.

It’s all part of the great convergence of television, the Internet and wireless technology that is changing the way we watch, especially entertainment and live sports. Soon, experts say, TV content and other video will be available anytime, anywhere and on almost any device.

The convergence is being guided by some of the biggest, most influential companies in the world in an environment where content — and who controls it — is more important than ever. These firms are mashing together wired and wireless networks that allow two-way communication between devices, marrying the wide reach of broadcast with the precision of digital, creating opportunity for extreme customization.

Much development work remains necessary on offerings as well as business models, but the potential is big.

Verizon Wireless, a major sponsor of the National Football League, is working with Ericsson to develop a wireless service that could give fans at the Super Bowl and other games access to multiple live camera angles and replays.

“100,000 spectators, 100,000 perspectives, and 100,000 different video experiences on thousands of different devices,” an Ericsson executive wrote earlier this year, addressing the potential of the technology, called evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services. Broadcast essentially refers to the ability to reach everyone with a single feed; multicast refers to the ability to reach particular audiences and devices.

That has implications for content and advertising.

“An advertiser has the opportunity to target not