Mike Cavanagh, CFO Comcast Corp. says the company is "not wedded to being necessarily the seller of a bundle.”
No kidding. Fast-growing connected TV/OTT usage via premium video streaming apps has taken the business by storm. Virtual pay TV services? Sling TV, AT&T Now, Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV? Ho-hum, at best.
All kinds of pay TV providers are seeing cord-cutting of all types. Comcast isn’t immune. Its residential subscriber losses nearly quadrupled in the first quarter to 388,000, from a prior-year decline of 107,000.
That’s the least of it. AT&T has lost over a 1 million DirecTV/AT&T Now subscribers in just the first quarter of this year alone. Satellite TV programming, Dish Network is no exception, either.
Perhaps all this is why the marketing of all these services -- especially legacy pay TV systems -- cable, satellite, and telco -- have seen little in the way of big TV advertising messaging.
Because, really, what would the message be? Please continue to spend $100 a month for 200 to 300 channels? Consumers might ask why.
Legacy TV providers can’t really answer that question well -- not when Netflix, Disney+, ESPN and Hulu (on demand) could give you a good deal for collectively spending around $30 a month. And especially in this weak economic environment.
Which brings us to one of the stories we can have a good yawn over: Cable networks being blacked out of legacy pay TV services, due to stalled contract negotiations.
This is what is happening to the NFL Network and Dish Network. Right now, the sports network isn’t being carried on the satellite programmer -- just a few weeks away from the start of the NFL pre-season, which begins in late July/August. The regular football season starts in September.
So, is outrage building among key NFL consumers? I’m sure there will be if this continues closer to the start of the season.
We know the drill: TV sports networks charge expensive carriage fees to pay TV providers.
Sports TV content not only being a big deal among TV subscribers but pay TV providers get to sell higher-price sports TV ad inventory as part of those carriage deals with sports networks.
Dish Network has bigger fish to fry -- especially when it comes to highly prized spectrum it needs to build (or sell) a business around, according to an FCC agreement.
Dish, Comcast and AT&T are all about boosting broadband faster and securing more efficient entertainment pipes.
The TV bundle? It’s not about buying a whole basket of fruit -- just the plums you want.