Monday, February 2, 2015

More OTT Aggregators Coming

As cable prices continue to rise, consumers eager for more provider alternatives will soon have multiple ways to watch TV networks without a cable subscription. Certainly shows from different cable networks end up coming to Hulu, Amazon, and of course Netflix, but they tend to be from past seasons and not the current one that is airing on the respective network.  But now these networks are making distribution deals with OTT services to offer their networks across streaming platforms.

Recently, Dish announced its own OTT service called Sling TV.  And now we have Sony, working through its Playstation division deliver its OTT streaming service, dubbed Vue.  According to Gigaom, "Sony announced in recent months that it has struck agreements with CBS, NBC and Fox as well as Viacom, Scripps and Discovery for Vue."  That means that networks like HGTV, Food, Discovery Channel, MTV and others will be included in this service.  Most interesting, NBC, owned by Comcast Cable, will also offer both its broadcast network as well as its cable channels including Bravo, CNBC, USA, and more.

Given the threat of cord cutting and the desire to be accessible to the next generation of consumers, the move to streaming is a necessary one.  Certainly the cable companies need to also create an authenticated streaming version of their entire cable line-up, accessible through streaming and available inside and outside the home, to best compete with competitors like Sling TV and Vue.  At the same time, the networks need to not lose their relevancy against other OTT providers like Netflix who value the show over the network and are pursuing their own original programming strategy.  Otherwise, these same networks will fear a complete erosion of not only their license fee model, but eyeballs to their network and the ad dollars they charge. 

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