Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Netflix A Complement To Cable Programming

In a first move for a cable operator, Virgin Media has agreed to add the Netflix app in their menu choices on their cable box.  That means that those Virgin customers that have a Netflix subscription will have access to programming from traditional cable as well as from their streaming OTT service. 

"The agreement marks a breakthrough for Netflix, blurring the line between traditional pay-TV and so-called over-the-top services delivered through the Web, such as Netflix and Inc.’s U.K.-based LoveFilm. Virgin Media customers will be able to search for Netflix shows on the same on-screen guide they use to hunt for pay-TV programs."  No U.S. cable operator has embraced such a move.  For Liberty Global owned Virgin Media, it indicates that they see these OTT services as becoming more added value to their cable service and less competitive.  It provides consumers with an easier ability to watch these streaming videos on the same TV that they watch networks and VOD.  Consumers that simply seek more video choices, this complement creates added value for the cable operator.

Most likely, cable operators like Comcast and Time Warner Cable will closely watch Virgin for signs that this partnership does indeed work or that it only leads to consumers further cutting the cord on their cable service.  Some research has indicated that a majority of consumers actually are both cable and Netflix consumers, speculating that these OTT services aren't what drives consumers to cut the cord.  Other factors like cable costs, disposable income, etc. may be the true drivers.  For now, this partnership between Virgin Media and Netflix challenges the notion that cable and OTT can't work together. 

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