By John Parnell
ADMC's acquisition of the EPL broadcast rights broke the pay TV stranglehold that had seen the traditional operators bouncing the license around between them.
ADMC's acquisition of the EPL broadcast rights broke the pay TV stranglehold that had seen the traditional operators bouncing the license around between them.There had been hopes that ADMC would make some games available on FTA. This would however be a breach of their agreement with the Premier League and has been dismissed. There were also hopes that ADMC would broker a deal with all the pay TV operators that would see the EPL become widely available on each platform. However, ADMC has stated that it will not be sub-licensing access to any third parties.
Instead, three platforms will be offered. Online access can be granted for US $15 per month, IPTV platforms can be used or an encrypted HD satellite channel can accessed.
The announcement that the company will distribute the broadcasts over the internet (where possible) is encouraging in some ways and worrying in others.
In the UAE, Etisalat offers speeds of 256kb/s, 1Mb/s, 8Mb/s, 16Mb/s and 30Mb/s. In my own experience of streaming Champions League matches from the UEFA website, a speed of 2Mb/s is needed to ensure a consistent stream, at a watchable resolution.
This means customers in the UAE looking to take advantage of the $15 per month webcast offer, will need to sign-up for an 8Mb/s broadband service. For those of us not already using such a service, this will mean upgrading.
The price difference between a 1Mb/s and an 8Mb/s connection on Etisalat's Al Shamil service is 250 AED (264 to 514 AED). This is an extra $68 per month for consumers to spend on top of the $15 subscription.
One thing is certain. The telcos are going to be big winners. ADMC is directing viewers towards broadband and IPTV platforms and away from satellite platforms. This will drive pricy broadband subscriptions and cause a swing from satellite, towards telco TV in the markets where it is available.
John Parnell is the deputy editor of Digital Broadcast.