I’ve been thinking about the cord cutter’s dilemma from the highest level, that is in terms of megatrends. One of my favorite words is “disintermediation”, a term spell checkers still don’t like, but which means the removal of intermediaries.
The internet has been one of the biggest forces of such disintermediation. Some good examples include:
In all of the above cases either information, or content is found quicker and easier using a browser than with the traditional method. So who are the hold-outs? I can think of two major cases:
|cable TV||over the top content|
|universitie||Moocs (online courses)|
Do you see the similarity? Now excuse me while I digress on a side-rant about the high cost of a college education today.
Colleges and universities assemble course content and deliver it on their terms. You want a degree? Sign up with USC at $50,000 per year. But wait. Isn’t 90% of this just a large room with desks and chairs and some guy talking up front? Now imagine taking that same class and webcasting it. Hundreds or even thousands of students could take the class from their home. The cost per student per class would plummet. If this became the accepted way to earn a college degree, the entire industry of over-priced education might be wiped out.
So let’s get back on topic now and talk about cable TV. In the US we have dozens of cable and satellite television operators all assembling channel line-ups, delivering set top boxes, sending out bills, and employing sales people, administrators, technicians and executives. But do we need all this duplication? Not really. All we really need is a “dumb” internet pipe to our house, and the ability to assemble our own channel line up, a la carte, from a list of things like Fox.com, ESPN.com, etc etc. 5Mb/s and a Roku would do the trick.
In either of the above I do worry about the economic ramifications. A lot of well paid jobs would vanish. Perhaps that is why the university model is holding on. What would you do with all those professors and teachers? Same thing for cable which employs thousands. None the less I do think both models will eventually break. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.