Adapting to online streaming

Many broadcasters are hesitating with what they put available on the web. But with consumers streaming their TV shows, movies, radio and music all from the internet, its leaving them no choice but to slowly adapt.

This doesn’t mean people are throwing their TVs out the window. But this re-alignment of changing mediums that we use for entertainment will be in between mediums for at least a couple more years. It will take some time before the TV starts to be an old technology.

Cecilia Kang, from the Washington Post, did an interview with Naveen Chopra, TiVo’s senior vice president of corporate development and strategy. Here’s a blurb from it that I found interesting:

Q: How does Tivo view all the disruptions at play (retransmission disputes, blocking of Web shows to Google, net neutrality and the Comcast merger) and what it means for the future of TV?

A: Consumer behavior is driven by the desire to get access to as much content as possible in the most convenient way possible. Those goals aren’t always completely aligned on the Internet and there are trade-offs. There is significant momentum for Internet-delivered content, some free, some paid and some paid per title. And then there is the traditional world of paid television, which the vast majority of consumers continue to buy from cable and satellite operators. The reality is that neither one is a complete solution from a consumer’s perspective. Some things are incredibly enjoyable from Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. But massive pieces of content from those are missing if you want, for example, to watch the World Series or Monday Night Football.

Q: But clearly there is demand for Internet videos. Did you see that statistic that Netflix streaming occupies 20 percent of broadband traffic during peak hours? Does that show that it’s just a matter of time that people will fully adopt Internet streaming only?

A: It’s not likely that it will be a mainstream solution but for techies and early adopters.

We would agree that there are trends at work that will continue to cause alternatives for cable and satellite to develop. But the notion that you will see large numbers of consumers abandoning paid television for over-the-top video is unlikely to happen in the short term.

Q: What’s keeping the business from changing?

A: There are significant financial and strategic reasons why owners of that content will continue to make it available through cable and satellite in ways that are much more economically compelling to consumers. Apple TV allows you to get all sorts of television content, but if you use it to substitute cable it is incredibly expensive. If the average television viewing per month is 180 hours, that means more than $300 a month in fees to Apple.

Relative to that, even the most expensive cable package is a phenomenal deal and less restrictive with what you can do with the content – you can watch a show multiple times, in different rooms and devices.

Netflix has become the dominant company to subscribe with and stream online with. It offered its services to Canada on September 22, 2010 and it’s already had a huge impact.

“According to Sandvine, a network management company that studies Internet traffic patterns, 10 percent of Canadian Internet users visited in the week after the service launched. And they weren’t just visiting—they were signing up and watching a lot of movies. Netflix videos quickly came to dominate broadband lines across Canada, with Netflix subscribers’ bandwidth usage doubling that of YouTube users.*…Netflix accounts for 20 percent of downstream Internet traffic during peak home Internet usage hours in North America. That’s an amazing share—it beats that of YouTube, iTunes, Hulu, and, perhaps most tellingly, the peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol BitTorrent, which accounts for a mere 8 percent of bandwidth during peak hours.” Farhad Manjoo from Slate

Sooner or later, the internet will be our main station for everything. With Google Tv coming out, it will help have all of our applications on one medium and be able to switch mediums easily.

Last summer I cancelled my cable just for 4 months. It was nice, I felt like I had less distractions. I can see why people like Netflix because it gives you the freedom to play it whenever you want, pause it and rewatch it.  But if tv-watching is slowly going to turn into streaming it online, is anyone else going to miss the commercials? I sure will.

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About sunnyvisa

I'm a student at Ottawa U, studying in Communications. I was born in Quebec City to a French Canadian and Italian family. I lived 9 years in the Netherlands and then moved to Ottawa. I love to travel, spend time with my family, and have fun with friends. You can always see me with a smile on my face :)
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One Response to Adapting to online streaming

  1. teknophilia says:

    Walmart is supposed to be getting into the streaming business, as well as RedBox. I wonder how this is going to affect physical copies of movies/shows, and whether the saving will be passed onto consumers.

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