When Tuvalu was granted the .tv ccTLD back in 1995 it was handed a lifeline and 25 years later is one of the country’s most valuable resources. The microstate, a chain of coral atolls and reef islands with a population of about 11,000, has few industries apart from limited agriculture and fishing, the latter gaining the country around $19 million in license fees in 2018.
But having been allocated .tv has given it another sizable income “thanks to the recent surge in streaming sites. As sites utilising .tv grow in prominence, Tuvalu’s domain on the web may eventually supersede that of its seas,” reported the Washington Post recently.
“Few Tuvaluans are able to access the streaming services powered by .tv. The nation’s Internet, though widely accessible, is limited to a satellite connection with reduced streaming capacity. However, with more than 140 million people around the world consuming content via Twitch.tv and other streaming platforms, the monetary benefits have helped Tuvalu in more tangible ways than entertainment. (Twitch is owned by Amazon, whose CEO, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post.)”
“[.tv] has provided a certain, sure income,” said Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance. “It enables the government to provide essential services to its people through providing schooling and education for the kids, providing medical services to our people, and also in terms of improving the basic economic infrastructure and service delivery to our communities.”
Currently Tuvalu has an agreement with Verisign to act as a registry for .tv, but this agreement expires in 2021 and Tuvalu will be keen to increase the revenue gained from .tv in any new agreement with Verisign or one of their competitors.
With online video booming, “Cisco predicted in 2017 that online video would account for 82 percent of all web traffic by 2021, when the .tv renegotiation is scheduled to occur.”
The current agreement has disadvantaged Tuvalu from capitalizing on the advent of these online streaming services and the potential additional revenue that those services could offer with regard to the .tv agreement,” Paeniu told the Washington Post. “Moving forward, it is indeed the intention of the Tuvalu government to renegotiate the agreement when it expires in about a year’s time.”
To read this Washington Post article in full, see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2019/12/23/tuvalu-is-tiny-island-nation-people-its-cashing-thanks-twitch/