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Yesterday, the New York Times’ Brian Stelter reported that Intel is planning “the creation of a virtual cable service that would sell a bundle of television channels to subscribers over the Internet.”
A few months ago, Barry Diller-backed Aereo, the platform that allows you access the public broadcast channels via their monthly service of $8 or $12 per month, won a big court case that should pave the way for future growth.
Alkiviades David who launched an Aereo competitor, recently lost an important court case that might set a precedent that affects Aereo as well.
Google Fiber is still expanding with plans to come to Austin soon and offer TV in addition to high speed web.
There are generally two camps of opinions within the bi-coastal TV industry. Those who focus their beliefs on the fact that real-time TV watching is growing with the help of real-time platforms like Twitter and those who believe a-la-carte, on-demand, Take My Money HBO GO! is the future.
The answer to that question really lies in the evolution of primetime. The sought after TV inventory that generates the billions revolves around the primetime hours and days of the week and year that NBC once smartly coined as “Must-See TV”.
Though I disagree with Edelsburg here:
Also, TV viewing is all about simplicity and the couch potato.
No it's not completely. Generation G or Gamers are now 40 years old and are used to engaging with their content in the living room with Game Consoles. Imagine a US primetime gameshow that had over 20 million second screen application downloads and over 6.5 million active users playing along with the show every week. That's what happened recently in The Netherlands in relative numbers. That's not lean back ten foot nor is it three foot lean forward. It's the new paradigm offered by Smartphone and Tablets which feeds new consumer behaviour.
NBC can hardly even get five million people to watch a show. Never mind 6.5 million playing along on second screen.
Cable companies are not only competing against other sources of audiovisual content from OTT competition like Netflix, Google, Intel, Samsung and many others, they are also competing for leisure time against Gaming and other forms of entertainment. Networks are clearly in trouble. But Cable is also down for the first time. And if McCain is successful in forcing a la carte, via legislation in DC, they will be hit even harder.
Brian Skelter at the NYTs writes:
As Intel tries something audacious — the creation of a virtual cable service that would sell a bundle of television channels to subscribers over the Internet — it is running up against a multibillion-dollar barricade.
That barricade is guarded by Time Warner Cable and other cable and satellite distributors, which are trying to make it difficult — if not impossible — for Intel to go through with its plan. The distributors are using a variety of methods to pressure the owners of cable channels, with whom they have lucrative long-term contracts, not to sign contracts with upstarts like Intel, that way preserving the status quo. Intel, however, is undeterred, and its executives intend to begin its TV service by the end of the year. They are ready and willing to pay more than existing distributors do for channels. But to date the company has not announced any deals with channel owners.
...Prospective products like Intel TV, delivered through the broadband Internet infrastructure of Comcast, Time Warner Cable or another provider and sometimes called “over the top TV,” have the potential to radically alter the media marketplace in the United States.
Intel has deep pockets for sure. They can outbid many other players in the value chain. But so can Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Google snagged digital cricket rights in India which may not sound like much, but for those that know India and know cricket, it's like owning the digital rights to the NFL in the USA. Or Premier League Football in the UK.
Or what happens if Major sports leagues decide not to sell the rights in the future and do it themselves? If brands like Red Bull can pull of building internal media houses that have produced 1000 episodes, why can't they? Cable and Pay TV will be waiting in line and bidding against multiple others gatekeepers of the living room in the future. From hardware players with Set Top Boxes to Smart TV's to BluRay players and media streamers. And indeed powerful forces from online.