The market of TV and consumer entertainment is one that I found fascinating, because I don’t believe the current model can possibly stay on track the way it is. The day’s where appointment TV exists are a thing of the past – consumers now have the option for DVR, On-Demand shows, most networks have TV shows available online, and with Hulu and other content providers offering shows to subscribers as soon as the next day.
Frankly, what continues to make Comcast and other cable and satellite providers is their live sports offerings. Even if shows were available online or in other locations, sports and other live events is something that would constrain a consumers options for content. But even now, NFL Sunday Ticket is something that anyone with a PS3 can purchase, with or without a cable subscription. HBO is also positioning itself to break away from exclusive deals with cable companies with HBO Go. I think this is a model that will continue to become more of the norm as we evolve. Devices are killing traditional TV, and I’m not sure cable providers will be able to overcome this, especially with things like HBO Go and ESPN Mobile.
I believe those that hold the keys to the devices being sold are the ones that, if they position themselves right, will own the leadership role in television moving forward. The key players here would obviously be Apple, Microsoft and Google. They will need to build the appropriate business development channels with content providers to start owning this.
In the future, I think the company that gets the IPTV’s in the most living rooms that can compliment their other TVs are the ones that win this battle. I believe that it is clear that someone like Apple will start building a real Apple TV (not the puck that they sold to hobbyist the past five years, but something like a 42-inch TV.) I saw speculation that this may be a TV that would go in a room like a kitchen that Apple could sell as a device that shows family pictures, and whatnot. The problem Apple faces with TV’s is, the lifespan for most TV’s is about 7 years, so anyone who just bought a new Samsung or LG isn’t about to get the Apple TV, even if they are Apple enthusiasts. This is why a TV that isn’t a TV may be Apple’s gateway, because right now, they’re not in the sphere. I think Microsoft actually may be in the best position, because of their gaming console, Xbox, which is 70 million homes. Much of Xbox usage actually involves no gaming, and in fact, apps like Hulu, Netflix and others are used to watch via the Xbox. Both these two companies have unique advantages for competing — it will be interesting to see which one finds a way to capitalize.