Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Authenticated Cable TV Viewing Outside The Home

Content companies, especially those with TV networks, have been negotiating with cable operators to receive incremental license fee payments for access to their networks outside the home on iPads and other mobile devices. Today, that access has been mostly limited to mobile devices inside the home. But why should a cable operator agree to pay more for these rights with any network when that access is already possible with technology? Why pay each network when cable companies could be integrating Slingbox technology into their current cable box?

The latest news from Slingbox is the integration of a player within Facebook, enabling a bit of sharing about what you are watching. Cute, but not so earth shattering. Couldn't this be better done with 2 screens.

Is it that consumers don't yet feel the need to have immediate access to their TV outside the home. Slingbox has been around for some time and consumers could on their own buy a box and add it to their system. But we don't seem to hear much news about how Slingbox sales are growing, although all of Echostar's equipment sales were down double digit in the third quarter. Is the idea of TV viewing outside the home what consumers really want? Do we prefer an out of home experience to strictly be an on demand one, where we can access a particular show when and where we want? Do we really desire linear access outside our home?

As to the pull on cable operators to negotiate higher license fees for out of home authentication, perhaps current technology is an alternative to raising costs and ultimately raising fees.

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