Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Starting...Cable Losing Its Live Advantage

In many discussions in this blog and others about consumer cord cutting, cable's one advantage has been live programming. Sure you could drop your cable subscription and get broadcast channels with a digital antenna. Sure you could drop your cable subscription and watch The Daily Show or Mad Men or some other cable show on Hulu. Sure you could drop cable and watch movies on demand from Netflix, Amazon, and others through the XBox, Playstation3, or Wii. But you couldn't watch live sports outside of broadcast. Till now.

"Major League Baseball is upping its digital game again, bringing live sports to the videogame console for the first time. The league will make its MLB.TV subscription service available through the Sony PlayStation 3, which has made its way into more than 12 million US homes." It will only be a matter of time before the other leagues offer similar packages.

Now customers that subscribe on cable should be asking, why should I pay twice for access across devices. You shouldn't. Tools exist today to bring TV to you, wherever, whenever, whatever you decide. It is just that your cable operator prefers to keep old set top boxes in the home and not try to offer new technology. With Slingbox and other tools, programs can follow you. With better DVR devices, programming can be presented more intuitively and with more flexibility. And the tools exist to make incremental revenues from these devices.

Except your cable company is not even trying to compete. As their mantra is to save a customer from defecting to telco and dish, they forget that the customer is also leaving the cable landscape completely, preferring to get their programming via broadband access. And as customers have found that their cable box doesn't connect to the web, but their TV and game console does. And as more programming populates these other connections, cable defection will only increase.