I need a little help in understanding something. I’ve see billions of dollars being poured into IPTV. I also see online companies building products through alliances, device makers creating online services to work with their hardware, and the content relationship owner becoming guys like Google, Yahoo, Apple, and Microsoft not your local Telco. Not to mention the advertising predicament (a future post), what does the future hold for T.V.?
Telecoms jumped into IPTV essentially to be able to compete with the convergence 4-play (since Cable moved into voice and did the same). But there is a trend developing that challenges the viability of both Cable and Telco T.V. offerings, namely online television (T.V. over IP). What seemed years away only six months ago looks like it’s right around the corner. Apple’s iTV shows us that starting now you can buy a T.V. program online and watch it directly on your T.V. You don’t need to wait for when the show is on or sit in front of your computer to watch. You can do it anytime you want, and you don’t need to worry about commercials. This kills Tivo, so what do they do? Form an alliance with Amazon to deliver Amazon Unbox content through the Tivo box (digital video recording is dying fast and Tivo knows it). Microsoft and Google competition is on the way.
So, to my point…content is moving online and barriers to consumer penetration are falling fast. All major networks will soon be offering shows online (Fox does it through MySpace, MTV on Uber.com, etc.). If I have an iTV box I’ll get my shows through iTunes…if I have a Tivo, I’ll get them through Amazon. WindowsMedia
Center?I’ll go to Zune.
It’s not only devices that are making this happen. If I go to Gmail or Yahoo for my email, search, stocks, pictures, etc., why not get my video from Google Video or Yahoo Entertainment?
Like energy companies that once sold the light bulb and the electricity, sooner rather than later, Telco/Cable will no longer own the customer content relationship and instead become owners of the pipe and customer billing relationship.
Seems to me that Telcos (and Cable) would be better advised to figure out ways to make money as the pipe rather than fighting online competitors for content. Bandwidth packages, consumer storage services would be a start and the door is wide open for some great innovations in complementary digital services.
No matter what the future holds for business, one thing is clear – the consumer wins.