Stand-Alone TV Services: More Choices, Better Prices, Lots Of Confusion

NBC continues to join the increasingly confusing array of cloud-based, stand-alone, Web-based TV services, with one featuring comedy shows and content.

This one will cost around $3.50 a month and feature daily content from the likes of “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” as well as clips from “Saturday Night Live.”

This announcement comes on the heels of news that Nickelodeon is starting up a kids-based streaming service.

If you are keeping score, there are now about a half-dozen or so variations on this theme -- either up and running or soon to be.

Of those online, there’s Dish Network’s Sling TV, where consumers can buy around 20 channels, starting at around $20 a month.  CBS All Access delivers CBS classic and current content for around $6 a month.  Upcoming is one from Sony Entertainment.



Many of these come as advertising-supported TV ventures. But HBO will add a non-advertising effort for its stand-alone Web-based TV service sometime this year.

Still, if you're a consumer hearing all this, what do you do right now? Pick one of this services? Two? Four? Are those consumers thinking, “Finally, I can choose the few networks I want!”?

TV content owners must be figuring it’s best to be in the market than not -- especially as traditional pay TV distribution providers are slow to roll out their TV Everywhere services.

It’s not only about TV Everywhere. TV executives are also pissed  about how slow efforts have been to measure and sell much of the current digitally delivered video. Recently NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said he believed about 70% of the digital views for “The Tonight Show” are “un-monetized.”

Adding more confusion are those existing arrangements some TV content producers have with digital platforms. For instance,  “Tonight Show” clips already run on YouTube, while  “SNL” episodes air on Hulu and Yahoo.

Consumers may be looking at all this activity and estimating future TV financial decisions. But much of these calculations will come with honestly figuring out what channels they watch regularly and which ones they will never have any interest in.

Still, for traditional pay TV providers, the branding of “all you can eat” TV services continues to have value. In lieu of passing by some sort of entertainment mirror and catching sight of their big TV diet, viewers will probably continue their wasteful consumption of content.

3 comments about "Stand-Alone TV Services: More Choices, Better Prices, Lots Of Confusion".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, March 4, 2015 at 1:32 p.m.

    Broadcast media content delivered by Wi-Fi through an application on the mobile device is an off the shelf mobile solution everyone else has including NYU freshman students which enables audience fragmentation so broadcast media should not expect a better outcome for mobile growth and their legacy business models.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 4, 2015 at 6:25 p.m.

    Will keep the cable companies alive and well. "Confusion will be my epitaph."

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 5, 2015 at 9:57 a.m.

    If I were the broadcast TV networks, I'd flood the marketplace with all sorts of "stand-alones" , based on their news, late night, sports and other programming. These "line extenders"would entail little or no new program costs and would blunt the growth of independent sources who might, if they ever attained critical mass in terms of usage volume, draw away viewers and ad dollars from the networks.

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