TV's Better Case For Vertical Integration
Can the TV industry make the same case these days for merging software (content) with hardware (technology/devices/platforms)?
Recent history might suggest that TV has gone the other way: Time Warner spun off Time Warner Cable as a separate company; Cablevision Systems kind of did the reverse, freeing up programmer AMC Networks to do its own thing.
Before the cable age, TV networks owning stations was a way of controlling distribution. At the dawn of the cable TV age, CBS and other big media owned cable systems. In today’s digital age, it isn’t the same, since it’s all about devices/services/platforms.
No surprise, then, that you have a reversal of TV history for some – with big TV/film content creators Fox, Disney-ABC, and NBC Universal holding on to the likes of premium digital video site Hulu.
Factor in what CBS just went through with Time Warner Cable, and you might have a case for more vertical integration -- all to the dismay of those who complain about big media consolidation.
Microsoft’s move on Nokia, however, looks to solve a different problem -- somewhat of a last ditch effort to compete with more robust competitors like iPhones and Android-platform smartphones.
Thinking of TV in this regard, one may bring up the likes of Sony -- or perhaps RCA decades before. Sony makes TV sets and TV shows. These days, Sony has been making deals for all kinds of TV apps for its smart TV sets with various interested parties.
Sony is also starting a pay TV service. It has reportedly signed up Viacom cable channels like MTV and VH1,hoping to stream the service to its TV sets and Playstation gaming consoles. Whether or not it ever reachs big “scale” in any of these efforts is anyone’s guess.
In whatever form, all this means vertical media/distribution TV deals aren’t dead yet.