Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fox Subscription a Cable Killer?

On the surface, it sounds like another business model to grow revenue via a subscription model. "The News Corp. subsidiary this morning unveiled Bitbop, a subscription service for smartphone owners that will deliver both streaming and downloadable movies and TV programs to smartphone users." Obviously, mobile is not cable, but the concept is a cable killer.

If Fox Mobile can get subscription revenue in this platform, then why not a subscription model under the web platform. No middle man, more direct contact with the customer. Isn't cable trying to deliver a TV anywhere platform to extend its reach beyond the wire to other boxes? And does this approach intrude on the cable partnership? Most likely, Fox will say its all experimentation to find out where the glue is.

But it is a clue that content owners may be willing to bypass cable subscription revenue if they can get the money directly from the viewer without a need for an intermediary. Cable companies must stay relevant and flexible to changing viewer interest. It's time for the cable companies to embrace SLingbox and other devices that enable programming to be moved from wired boxes to untethered pcs and smartphones. Until then, Fox and others wiwll continue to look to bypass the converter box and sell directly to the viewer.

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