Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Linear Web Channels Keep Arriving

The world of the "connected" TV set relies on content to consume. Where short form content is best for "lean forward" viewing, the TV watching experience has always been about the "lean back", long form view. Once cable networks like Comedy Central, E!, MTV, and others started out with short form programming, but they recognized that their viewing and revenue success would be with full length shows.

As the web invades our TV screen, the ideal experience is "lean back" and web sites are complying with linear web networks with original shows. The latest addition to the linear web guide will come from AOL's Huffington Post, "preparing to launch a live over-the-internet video channel modeled on the 24-hour cable news networks." Where cable news nets like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC receive cable license fees and advertising, a free web channel will attempt to survive on ad sales alone, while trying to draw viewers away from these cable nets to their web network.

With a web TV line-up growing with the addition of other web channels from YouTube and others, the internet is taking a direct shot at cable subscription fees and alternative programming distribution. Will these web channels further advance the cord cutting affecting basic cable subscription? Or is it simply the economic costs that are the real key driver of cord cutting? Clearly, the arrival of more web channels demonstrates the direction and push that is being taken to sample and perhaps one day fully switch over.

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