Cable TV Industry Threatened by OTT

cableOne of the hot issues being discussed in this weeks Los Angeles Cable TV Show is the pressure Cable TV operators are faced with in terms of end-user authentication issues and from Over The Top TV, which is Television that consumers consume straight from the internet such as Hulu, Netflix and Crackle.

An excerpt from Fiercecable illustrates some of the discussion taking place:

Skipper called upon the cable industry to do a better job of selling its offerings to consumers. “Shame on us if we don’t work to sell the value of a pay subscription and a triple-play.  We are allowing them [OTT players] to set the tone of the conversation. We should be saying we have a better product.”

Skipper also called for a tighter partnership between programmers and distributors, noting that initiatives like TV Everywhere are not progressing as quickly as they should and that’s impacting the customer experience.

In fact, improving authentication on TV Everywhere services was a recurring complaint among the programmers on the panel. “I wish our cable partners would look at how to make the customer experience better,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A&E Networks. “That part of the partnership needs to be solidified.”

While this debate heats up, Singaporean Cable TV Operator StarHub has just released the first of 3 new cable-based Set Top Boxes for the Singapore consumer TV market. But why? Why not continue down the OTT path?

The folks at Techgoodnu seem to have a good answer for why, they explain as follows:

Why has StarHub invested more money on set-top boxes, when people are already watching TV on all sorts of personal and mobile devices? And this when StarHub itself already has similar “over-the-top” services delivered over the Net rather than the old cable network?

The answer, as one might predict, has to do with content partners. StarHub cannot afford to open up that fast, just as partners that provide it TV content are worried they will lose this well-established way of delivering content.

But everyone knows that things are changing. In the past, set-top boxes were important to secure the content delivered to homes, so people cannot easily record it onto their own devices.

That’s silly now, if you just look up all the pirated content on Piratebay, for example. If you create a popular TV programme, expect your content to be pirated, set-top box or no.

The debate is interesting, but it is clear that cable TV operators need to do both, continue to enrich and improve the Cable delivery experience, while also embracing OTT and the wealth of new content it can offer.

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