Thursday, May 2, 2013

Liberty Buys Into Charter...Time To Takeover?

According to reports, Liberty has completed its quarter ownership of Charter Communications.  With its ownership, Liberty also gets seats on the Charter Board.  So what is next?  Does Liberty let Charter run independently with its current management team or is Liberty already thinking of full ownership.  It would not be the first time, as SiriusXm has found out first hand.  That is not to say that having Liberty and its management team on your board is a bad thing; rather, John Malone and his team have proven themselves successful in running these businesses.  It is more conjecture as to what Charter may become in the next few years. 

CE Study 47% IP Devices Connected - Really?

Numbers are a funny thing.  They can be manipulated any number of ways to tell a story.  Yet sometimes those analyses tend to cause a bit of head scratching.  One in particular appeared in Multichannel suggesting that less than half of all IP capable CE devices are actually connected to broadband.  "Makers of Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, smart TVs and streaming media devices are banking on users to connect to revenue-generating services over broadband, but less than half of those devices are actually tapped into the Internet, The NPD Group revealed in its latest a Connected Home report."  Do you spot the device that may have brought down this percentage?

If you guessed blu-ray player, you are right.  Now I admit to not seeing the actual study, but I do wonder what the numbers look like without Blu-ray in the mix.  But this item also was a head scratcher, "According to NPD’s survey of 4,000 U.S. consumers, streaming media players are connected at the highest rate, followed by game consoles, Blu-ray players and IP-capable TVs."  You mean to tell me that IP connected, smart TVs are not actually connected; in fact, they are less likely to be connected than Blu-ray players. I can understand people buying Blu-ray players solely to play discs and not to connect online, but why would a consumer buy an IP connected set if they had no plans to connect.  Was the price of the set cheaper than another without the feature? 

But back to the numbers.  So with a sample of 4000, were they equally divided among the 4 devices?  Perhaps it would be more interesting to dig deeper into each of these devices specifically to see how each is utilized.  Certainly, consumers are buying more and more connected devices AND actually connecting to broadband.  My final thought, I think these numbers seem skewed and another study might prove that consumers are quickly embracing IP connectivity and the percentage is higher.   And households with more than one of these devices in their home are using a particular one as the primary connecting source.  Of note, what they are currently connecting to. "The study also found that 40% of TVs connected to the Internet either through the TV itself or via a separate device are used to stream Netflix content, while 17 percent tap into YouTube, and just 11 percent head to Hulu."