In the past decade, we’ve seen plenty of changes but one of the biggest ones has been that middle men have seen their power stripped away because of the Internet. Record companies are no longer as powerful as they used to be. Authors are self-publishing their books. Filmmakers are releasing their movies online.
The next giant to fall, I believe, will be the cable and satellite providers.
Out of the 300 plus channels that you have on your television, how many of them do you watch regularly? For me, the answer is seven (Fox Soccer Channel, GolTV, ESPN2, BBC America, Comedy Central, TBS and HBO). Instead of paying more than $50 per month to my cable company who provides me a wire to bring channels into my home, what if I could make a deal directly with HBO, Fox Soccer Channel or any of the other networks to watch their content for a monthly fee over the Internet to my TV set or computer?
And how much would you pay for each channel per month? Five dollars sounds fair to me. Plus by dealing directly with Fox Soccer Channel, HBO and other channels, I’m not stuck in a one-year or two-year contract with my satellite provider. Plus I don’t have to pay a monthly fee to rent a DVR or a remote control from my cable company. And with the a la carte option, I get the self satisfaction in paying for what I want instead of paying for boring channels that don’t interest me at all.
This future isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s definitely heading that way. It’s one of the reasons why I believe Comcast bought NBC so that instead of just being the cable company, they now have quality assets that people actually want — programming. Even ABC and CBS are reportedly contemplating a deal with Apple to provide their programming via a subscription model over the Internet.
For networks such as Fox Soccer Channel and GolTV, cutting out the middle man allows them to not being held hostage by Time Warner Cable and DISH Network respectively.
Plus with Setanta Sports, who have been trying to expand their reach for years and still haven’t been able to get on as many cable providers as they would like, this would help bring Setanta Sports directly to consumers instead of dealing with the archaic multiple system operator (MSO) set-up that cable companies have where they’re structured on a regional basis instead of being nationwide. Imagine how much further along Setanta would be as a business if they didn’t have to expend so much energy just trying to get on a cable platform for people to watch their channel.
Would you be in favor of a system where you could pick and choose only those networks you’d like to subscribe to and then deal directly with those providers to subscribe to their programming? Or not? Click the comments link below to share your feedback. I’m very interested in what you have to say on the matter.