HomeChoice is among the first in the newest, and self-styled grooviest, generation of telecoms. They look like hip media groups and call themselves “digital home network providers,” furnishing a telephone connection, high-speed broadband access and on-demand television stations, which allow users to replay and skip programs on channels designed by in-house staff. Workers at HomeChoice, for example, drew the cartoon mascot and handpick shows for its children’s channel, SCAMP. Launched in 1999 HomeChoice is still private. FastWeb followed in Italy the following year, and other entrants now include Iliad of France and Yahoo! BB of Japan.
In Asia, telecoms looking for content to fill their “pipes” have even started to invest in movie and music production. Last year, South Koreans spent an estimated $185 million on digital musicof which the telecoms raked in more than 70 percentand forecasts put that figure as high as $1 billion by 2009.