Sometimes our enemies make the strangest bedfellows. It has happened many times before and it can happen again. When IFC and Sundance Channel were fighting each other for share of the indie film audience, who would have ever imagined that one day both would be owned by the same company. When cable and the phone companies would fight for share, who would have expected partnerships in certain markets. And now we wonder would cable ever partner with an OTT programmer.
Well it just might make sense. The reality is that the programming that subscription services like Netflix and Hulu Plus provide actually augment the choices available to consumers. And especially as these OTT providers increase their stake in original programming. The cable operators' concern is that Netflix and others will drive further cord cutting; but what if adding them to the line-up only makes the cable subscription service that much more attractive. For consumer that seek more, they are likely willing to buy or keep their Netflix or Hulu Plus subscription AND keep their cable subscription. In fact, they just might continue to buy premium networks like HBO and Showtime too. Consumers essentially have an unquenched appetite for more video content. And if cable operators can make its access to these OTT programmers easy, they just might remain loyal cable subscribers, too.
I am confident that cable operators have been doing their research. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a large percentage of cable households also have a Netflix subscription. The key to the success of carrying them along with their other choices would be the utilization of the set top box and its search capabilities. Making finding content easier and adding recommendation to the equation could make the cable operator the premier aggregator of video content to the home. And doesn't that drive more revenue opportunities.