Over the last few months we have been reading numerous stories all leading to two big conclusions:
1. Eventually Cable will go all OTT (over the top).
2. Eventually, some day, Cable will go a la carte.
Here are some of the top stories supporting these points:
Netflix adding their own content
Netflix spent $100M on House of Cards and has already earned it back in new subscribers. Industry watchers know the challenge and threat for Netflix has
been getting access to content. If they don’t own it they cant stop Comcast/NBC or Starz from pulling the rug out. Well now Netflix has shown they have a strategy to counter that. House of Cards is OTT and it’s free with your Netflix subscription.
Verizon considering OTT
At this year’s NAB show the news broke that Verizon would actually consider a la carte pricing for its FIOS service. Verizon has over 4M TV service subscribers and competes with Comcast, TWC etc. This move would likely spur similar action from competitors.
Google Fiber scaring the Bejesus out of traditional Cable operators
If you aren’t living in Kansas City, Austin, or Provo UT you might not realize that Google has entered the cable operator business. The scary part for legacy MSO’s is that Google offers either a FULL Gigabit (up and down) of internet bandwidth, or believe it or not, a FREE low speed plan. (More on this in a later post). A Gigabit of bandwidth is enough to carry a couple hundred HDTV signals (MPEG 2 type). Yeah, that’s enough to make OTT run without buffering issues.
Google (YouTube) adding pay channels
This news arrived courtesy of my friend Len over at The Beer’s on COMAST! with the comment “Did that just turn every modern BD player and smart TV into a Roku competitor?” So Google now owns a fiber to the home “cable” system, and offers new “paid channels”. I just wonder if they’ll combine these features somehow.
Century Link considering offering a full Gb too
So perhaps Century Link is responding to Google Fiber with the announcement they plan to offer a full Gigabit of bandwidth in this fiber to the home project in Omaha. Which operator will be next? (Keep your eyes on TWC in KC and Austin).
Aereo still going strong
Aereo, the startup that offers a mini line-up strictly OTT, has survived several court challenges from the big boys. If they can’t be stopped we will likely see some similar competing formats from others . Netflix could probably replicate Aereo in no time.
Television Consumer Freedom Act
This bill introduced recently by John McCain, would force networks to un-bundle their offerings to Cable operators and in theory lead to an a la carte system. I don’t expect to see something this big pass through congress without a huge fight, but it will be fun to watch.
There we have it. All signs leading to an OTT/a la carte world. Let me know your thoughts on any others in the comments below.