What’s all this shifting of TV chairs? Broadcast networks becoming cable networks? Cable networks becoming Internet video companies? YouTube videos becoming media conglomerates?
Fox and CBS previously threatened to become cable networks because of Aereo. Now HBO threatens to become an Internet subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) provider because of Netflix. World Wrestling Entertainment, meanwhile, is starting an ad-supported Internet network.
Especially in light of its popular HBO Go app, Richard Piepler, chief executive officer of HBO, has hinted about bypassing cable, satellite and telcos to compete with Netflix and other SVOD providers.
Ultimately all TV companies want to move closer to media-savvy consumers, especially with all the new electronic devices. Seismic TV shifts seem not just threatening but about to become reality.
HBO still needs to think about its traditional distribution networks, with some $4 billion worth of partnerships to consider, according to Piepler. But, he said, “Anything that helps us get to the consumer off a cheaper base is terrific to us.”
While HBO thinks about moving off the likes of cable systems, Netflix could go partly in the other direction.
Cable operators are considering putting Netflix on their set-top boxes. But, just as with HBO, it isn’t an either-or scenario. Like anything else with modern-age TV content providers, taking on new distributors is an effort to grab more shelf space in the digital media world.
Broadcast networks? Many won’t be moving towards their competitors, but rather running away from the likes of Aereo. Broadcasters’ closest competitors right now are mature cable networks, over-the-top programming services, and ad-supported digital video platforms.
Sounds easy. Now the hard part: not only telling traditional TV distributors but also marketers/advertisers and, oh yeah, consumers.