When 'New Media' Evolves Into 'Old Media,' It's Time To Diversify
"New media" has taken another hit, but it appears to be only a flesh wound.
No, we aren’t speaking of the online world, but of a previous "new media": satellite TV.
For the first time ever, DirecTV lost U.S. subscribers over a quarterly period -- a small net loss of 52,000 consumers in the second quarter. But don’t worry about the satellite distributor. DirecTV still has around 20 million U.S. subscribers and is still growing around the world, including big gains in Latin America.
So what does the U.S. subscriber loss mean? Not a whole lot. The bigger question is whether DirecTV has the ability to follow cable system operators -- who now get increasingly positive results from phone and Internet services -- by diversifying its revenue base. Phone and Internet type businesses aren't in the DirecTV wheelhouse, nor might they ever be. Still, during the quarter, DirecTV was able to increase the money it gets from each subscriber, by 4%, to $94.40 a month.
It wasn't that long ago that cable itself was classified as "new media" by agencies and analysts.
DirecTV’s latest statistics may not be a long-term barometer. Remember the first time cable system operators reported lower numbers of basic cable subscribers? Did cable system executives worry? Nah. They were already talking "triple play" -- the ability to sell phone and Internet as well as standard video services.
What happens when other "newer media" barometers fall in years to come? Like when online video consumption stops increasing, and its revenues drop a bit?
Sounds crazy. But I'm sure those in charge of future video media consumer consumption -- Google, Apple, Facebook, or some company that hasn't yet been created -- will figure out other business opportunities to soften the blow.