Friday, August 12, 2016

Cord Cutting Less Of A Worry

A CNBC story tells us that research from SNL Kagan indicates that "a flattening pace of cord-cutting and a projected broadband boost of 8 million subscribers over the next 10 years, media companies are quickly shifting the way their content gets delivered to consumers."  Truth is, the best way to stream is with broadband.  The cost of data from cellular, mainly because of plans that charge by the gigabyte, makes an impact on the household.  Households may not be buying higher packages of cable, but they are still getting the basic cable package and bundling broadband.  With a broadband package, consumers have wireless accessibility for tablets and smartphones.  And they get authenticated access to wireless outside the home.  In the Northeast Xfinity, Optimum, Time Warner Cable and others have been building out their wireless platforms to support their subscribers. 

Consumers have been moving toward streaming as a preferred way to view content.  Streaming both cable and OTT content to watch on all their devices.  NBC has just announced that they have already served over 1 billion streams of Olympic content.  Time Warner Inc. made a big investment in Hulu, a streaming subscription service.  And Disney/ESPN are finally looking at a streaming subscription package for their sports content. 

The success of broadband enables cable companies to drive bundling packages in a way to keep households connected to cable TV as they drive broadband subscription growth.  And per the report, the strategy has kept cord cutting from becoming a bigger issue.

Huffington Leaving Post

On the surface, the news that Arianna Huffington is leaving the company that she founded and runs to start up a new venture doesn't sound that concerning.  Entrepreneurs enjoy the thrill of the start up.  And with an acquisition of The Huffington Post, first by AOL and then again as Verizon bought AOL, the notion of being the big fish in a small pond gets lost as the pond becomes an ocean and you become a smaller fish relative to the size. 

That Huffington is leaving to start a new venture called Thrive, a health and wellness digital site, does raise a couple questions.  One, that Verizon has also just bought Yahoo and Huffington could take the health assets from this acquisition to mold her site as a venture inside of Verizon.  Two, that digital health and wellness sites are already plentiful and no site has yet truly broken through.  I myself have worked for a couple cable health and wellness sites, including Veria and HealthiNation, and attracting a sizable audience, either on TV or on the web, has been extremely difficult.  Given all the niches, health and wellness seems to best occupy the longer tail part of viewing patterns.  And third, that Huffington's new venture might have had a better distribution shot staying inside Verizon than operating independently.

So the smell taste fails me when it comes to her motivation to leave.  The only argument is that she simply wants to be more independent and occupy the leadership chair in a much smaller business entity.  Financial motivation may simply not be an issue for her at this time.  While I wish her luck with her health and wellness venture, her best outcome for it will be its future acquisition with another site.