Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TV Everywhere - From Many Not Just One Source

In a wired world, the cost of maintaining and growing the platform, as well as the laws and regulations surrounding a wire, has led to a high barrier to entry and a monopoly of sorts. In the cable industry, you have the choice of only a few - cable company, telco provider, or satellite - to receive your cable signals. Otherwise, it is a digital antenna to receive TV programs. In a digital streaming world, your choices are infinitely wider.

As a consumer, you are not reliant on your cable company to watch shows. With digital streaming, barriers have dropped and multiple video providers have moved in to stream shows to you; not just tethered to your wired TV, but available everywhere and anywhere. Programs can be viewed on your smart phone, your tablet, your laptop, and yes, even on your TV. TV manufacturers have developed connected TVs that bypass the cable wire to enable streaming media to be enjoyed in a big screen experience. They have bypassed the cable operators to work directly with streaming media.

This upheaval in the entertainment landscape has challenged cable to push out streaming apps of its channels on tablets to compete with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Google and scores of others. Want to watch Austin Powers, you can price shop - buy the DVD, watch on demand from cable, rent from Netflix, download from iTunes. And decide which service gives you the movie where you prefer to watch it - big screen HDTV, laptop, iPad, or iPhone.

It is this new world of TV Everywhere from many sources verse just one that will impact the cable industry. With many players competing for the viewers' attention, each service will compete on price, original content, speed and mobility. And it is that last factor that can hurt cable. HBO is helping cable with its Go product, but one network support is not enough. Dish Network has found its work around with Slingbox. Until then, Netflix and others will forge ahead with more content deals to become more valuable to its growing subscriber base. They are doing deals with many consumer electronic manufacturers and content creators to fill and distribute their pipeline of programming. And that means cord shaving, or worse, cord cutting, of cable subscriptions.