NTL are the latest European ISP to jump on the online music bandwagon. However their offering has a slightly different focus than many others. NTL Home Broadband Plus is an access / content bundle with an incremental £3.99 fee for access to the music content. It also goes beyond just offering a standard subscription service for a tenner a month, NTLís service gives the subscriber access to a wide range of content, ranging from music video through to burnable downloads.
Whether the content is compelling enough to drive strong consumer uptake remains to be seen, but the reasoning behind it is bang on the money. Firstly the music content is broad enough in scope to appeal to many different types of music consumers: our consumer survey research shows that only a relatively small percentage of people actually want to pay for music downloads. However a greater number are interested in more general music content such as videos etc.
Secondly, NTL are bundling music and other content with their broadband offering to give enhanced consumer experience (and thus competitive differentiation). This sort of approach is a key way of driving consumer uptake of broadband as a whole and of upper speed tiers, as discussed by colleague Ian Fogg in his latest report.
Why is this so important? Because increased penetration of high speed Internet will be a key driver of uptake of high quality digital music services. Though it is entirely possible to stream mid-quality audio and to download individual tracks over narrowband, it is an inferior service. The higher the connection speed, the better the experience for the then end user.