Friday, January 10, 2014

Broadcasters And Aereo Get The Attention Of The Supreme Court

Given the new round of funding that Aereo is getting, along with an aggressive rollout plan, the genie may already be out of the bottle.  Still, the Supreme Court has finally agreed to listen to the broadcasters case and decide the validity of the Aereo business.  Of course the earliest the case will begin is April which gives Aereo another quarter to advance its OTT platform. 

And should the Supreme Court deliver a ruling for or against the broadcasters' motion,  I don't expect a massive change in the current license fee structure.  If Aereo wins, consumers still need a strong broadband connection to receive the signals.  And Aereo might still want to make deals with broadcasters and cable networks to get local advertising inventory.  And cable operators will continue to pay broadcasters a license fee given the expense to build out antenna farms.  If Aereo loses, broadcasters will still come up with streaming models to deliver linear feeds of their channels, working with cable operators on an authentication process. 

So let the legal fees add up, the genie is already out of the bottle.

I've Become A Second Screen User

I must admit that lately, with certain television programming, my iPad is part of my experience with the TV show.  And a recent study out of CES indicates that I am not alone.  "About 44 percent of Americans utilize another device while watching television".  Now I must also admit that my second screen doesn't always relate to what is on the big screen.

For lots of programming, you might catch me playing an iPad game while sneaking peaks at the TV and listening for major plot changes.  And yes, some times I am forced to pause and rewind.  But I also admit that I have used my iPad for additional information related to the programming I am watching.  When watching a movie, I sometimes find myself going to IMDB to get more detail on the cast or what else that actor has been in; when watching football, I keep an eye on the CBS Scores for more detail on yards gained by the running back or pass completions.  And they add related Twitter commentary attached to the game I am watching, to share my frustration and/or joy of the results on the field.  I must also admit with award shows coming, it is fun to read the Twitter feed for the snarky comments associated with the programming and the stars being feted.

As a society, we have become much more multi-taskers in our day.  The result is a lost focus at times but we also gain incremental information that was once not available before.  I think for high involvement programming, the second screen may cause us to miss key plot points or plays on the field, but technology also lets us rewind and pause as long as others in the room don't mind.  Are there incremental revenue opportunities from the second screen, I'm not sure.  But if it delivers loyalty to those apps, we may eventually register the other marketing messages that are presented to us.  In the meantime, the use of the second screen will only continue to grow.