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Microsoft helps Telefónica Spain revive its pay television service

Determined to revive its failing IPTV service, Spain’s Telefónica banged on the table to substantially improve its pay-TV service, which operates under the brand Imagenio and that can receive over 70 channels via broadband networks (ADSL and optical fiber).

To do this, Telefónica recently launched a new Imagenio, renewing the technology platform that supports it and that from now on will be provided by Microsoft.

Imagenio languished in the past year, in which only added 32,000 new customers compared to 117,000 the previous twelve months. The company closed the third quarter of 2011 with 803,000 users, compared with 771,000 counted in September 2010. The service has more than 18% of the market for pay TV in Spain, which has 4.4 million customers, but had lost customers in the first six months of the same year.

The U.S. giant Microsoft was chosen from among the candidates presented to its international contest, awarded last year to be the supplier of the IPTV technology and where it competed with other giants like Cisco.

Touting Microsoft’s Mediaroom platform, which according to the American giant, is the most widespread in the field of telecommunications operators in the segment of IPTV.

Mediaroom, launched in 2007, was widely chosen by 40 telecommunications operators or cable operators around the world, who have 16 million decoders operate with this system. These operators included AT&T, BT in the UK, Deutsche Telekom, Germany, and Portugal Telecom.

Telefonica had already hinted that Mediaroom could play an important role in the future of small to medium businesses, which is the basis of the new pay-TV system launched in the operating subsidiary of Brazil and it has been chosen also in Chile. In addition, last December, Telefónica announced that an agreement was made with Microsoft for the Xbox 360 console, allowing access to a channel group Imagenio, and using Kinect, the gaming control system that uses both gestures and voice.

But the agreement to use any technology platform, which launched in 2012, is much more ambitious to both companies. Not only is using Mediaroom with full functionality, but the agreement between Telefonica and Microsoft allows local developments as to adapt the service to the needs of the Spanish subsidiary of the operator.

Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.

IPTV services may be classified into three main groups: live television, with or without interactivity related to the current TV show; time-shifted television: catch-up TV (replays a TV show that was broadcast hours or days ago), start-over TV (replays the current TV show from its beginning); video on demand (VOD): browse a catalog of videos, not related to TV programming. All of this are provided by Microsoft’s Mediaroom.