What a superb week for networks seeking to build stronger online streaming businesses. There were indications on both the content and distribution fronts that growth opportunities are exceedingly ripe.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company had a record-setting, billion-plus hours of viewing in June. Hastings may have as good a read on consumer hunger and trends as anyone, so while some of the Netflix's growth may have been fueled by international expansion, the signs of heightened demand are surely there.
Netflix set its record even as it specializes in library content, and networks are also increasingly careful about what they license to it. But, Netflix's emphasis on original content is increasing and Hastings hyped new home-cooked programs as likely generators of more records.
Meanwhile, reports started to drop that Apple is developing a mini-iPad. Apple’s continued innovation in the tablet space is a boon for programmers. The more its devices hit the market, the more hours of online video will be watched.
Tablets offer a viewing opportunity on a screen larger than a smartphone, but one that’s still mobile. The viewing experience can also resemble or top the HD sets improving the traditional living-room experience.
And, networks can sit back and happily watch as seemingly just about every consumer electronics -- and software -- giant wants to chop into Apple's tablet dominance. The list continues to grow and the brainpower on the challenge front is extraordinary.
Google is introducing the Nexus 7. Microsoft recently launched its Surface. Media visionary John Malone’s Liberty Media owns Barnes & Noble and the Nook. New Kindle Fires should keep coming out.
In a content-distribution mix, networks could also become increasingly intrigued by partnerships with Facebook, where the social networking giant could serve as a mega-distribution video platform. The New York Post reported Facebook is looking to make deals to push deeper into online video, where it receives a cut of the ad revenue and an agreement is in place with Turner.
Networks may still struggle to derive the type of revenue from online streams they seek. But the axiom is that money follows traffic, and indications are that will continue to speed up.