Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Brave New Streaming World

The first cracks in the traditional cable model was when HBO decided to offer a streaming only platform called HBO Go. It then followed that up with HBO Now for people who aren't connected to a cable company. The cableco umbilical cord was cut and suddenly people getting HBO Go, Netflix and YouTube (substitute Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus to mix and match a package that's right for you) had plenty of content and no desire to continue with a $100+ cable bill. Cutting the Cord suddenly became cutting edge and fashionable.

Then came the "skinny" packages. Sling TV starts with 30 channels for just $20 per month. DirecTV Now offers 60+ channels for $35 per month and they just signed up over 1 million subscribers making them the 3rd largest OTT (over the top) streaming service behind Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. But that too is just the beginning because even in 30 channel packages and especially in 60 channel packages there will be channels a subscriber won't watch and will chaff at paying for.

For example - if I'm a liberal I might not particularly like the fact that I have to subsidize Fox News. Conversely a conservative may feel the same about MSNBC or even CNN. Further levels of choice will be demanded.

Which brings me to this interesting case - Wave Broadband vs Comcast's NBC Sports Network. The case basically questions Comcast's "packaging" requirements and a Wave Broadband win may open the door for further a la carte content choices. Wave actually has very little to lose as they already charge their subscriber just the content costs as a pass-through. Wave's business is really in providing the broadband pipe.

We live in interest content times and the times are a changing.

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