Thursday, November 5, 2015

Digital Killed The Television Star?

If you remember back when MTV first emerged, the first music video was "Video Killed The Radio Star".  It spoke to the demise of the old media with the rise of music video.  It was certainly not true, radio did not die, although it too was changed as the result of technology.

Today, it is television that is being affected by the rise of new media, digital and streaming media.  Consumers no longer are tethered to a box; rather, the screen moves with us and we control when and where we want to watch.  It has led to cord cutting, not just because of the freedom of movement, but because the cost to access on a tethered box has gotten too high. 

We want smaller bundles at lower price points.  Netflix provides its bundle of TV shows and movies for a low monthly fee and Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and others each do the same.  And as consumers we can pick which of these services we wish to carry.  With cable television, the appeal of their large bundle of shows and movies, linear and on demand, diminished as the price of carriage kept rising faster and faster.  The biggest culprit of that rise has been sports programming and the demand to license its content has enabled more channels to carry a piece of sports.  Where a decade or more ago, sports was the exclusive home to a few nets; today, games are seen on dozens of regional and national sports networks.  And consumers paid for access to each and everyone of these nets to be accessible on basic cable.  Ultimately, consumers pay too high fees for too many networks they may not want. 

Has digital killed the Television star, of course not.  Neither did video kill the radio star.  But digital has changed the playing field so that consumers have more control to cut the cord when their primary source for video has gotten too expensive.  Lesser expensive options with a diverse supply of streaming video now makes the choice to cut the cord easier to make.  Digital has changed the playing field and it is time to rethink the cable bundle.