Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Apple Announcement Only About The iPhone

If you are wondering why the stock price today on Apple is dropping, you can blame it on expectations not meeting the announcement.  It was all about the iPhone with no discussion about new products like an Apple television or an iWatch.  Not even a word on a software upgrade to the Apple TV.  And that likely means no new products for Q4.  For competitors like Samsung, it means they have the Holiday Season to sell their new wearable device without Apple breathing down their neck.  Sure its nice to have a new iPhone, but it was a lot of talk for very little new information.  Certainly it gets harder than ever to surprise fans with so much news that leaks out beforehand; but still, it would have been nice to hear about their next device. 

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.