What do we all hate about cable tv? It’s stagnant, kind of like getting cell phone service. Sure, you get hundreds of stations, but it’s not curated. It feels wasteful. I realize cable and the various networks of its industry are stuck in this pattern because it feels good to get fat on the dollars of Americans. But I say they could get fatter. Like all good Americans, we all have cell phones, we all want that big screen tv, we probably have access to a Netflix account, we probably aren’t too strict about that no torrent thing, and the list goes on. There’s huge segments of consumers they’re missing out on. I’m not saying this is an easy solution, but there’s certainly a nice roadmap.
From my understanding a cable provider based on agreements with various networks, local affiliates, advertisers, etc bundles all channels with the expectation that certain segments are potentially filled by a certain percentage of watchers. This invariably becomes a non issue. Continue retaining agreements and contacts, but get different kinds of agreements that offers more value to advertisers and networks alike. With streaming, mobile, and web based technologies, the amount of tracking capabilities is insurmountable, which allows a much more granular idea of viewership. Based on profile data, you can see direct details of a user’s viewing habits. You know what they’re watching, how often, and when. With cable, the only metric I can imagine are polls with a limited set of users or high bandwidth usage. I assume Netflix has some crazy user statistics, which remains this mythical unicorn, shrouded in fantasy, rooted in reality.
To the matter, recall the radical startup, aereo, whose demise was at the behest of several law suits and legal proceedings, created a beautiful thing–this mashup of Netflix meets live tv where you could literally watch tv anywhere. This is something most non tech people will probably not mind, but I love being able to watch tv anywhere whenever I want, whether it’s saved on my DVR, thru my SlingBox, on Netflix, Amazon, or hulu, or whatever. The problem with streaming tv with SlingBox is the issue where a stream must first be recorded, converted to digital distribution modes, buffered and pushed into a stream. There are too many steps. Both aereo and sling have similar ideas. Perhaps Sling’s issue is solved by its sister offering of sling tv, similar to Sony’s recently announced a la carte tv lineup. The networks have missed the mark and are slow to transition into scalable, flexible, modern, and fully catered entertainment packages. It also can inspire those networks with the boldest ideas and exciting new television, where such networks will receive premium shares based on its demand. Since viewer statistics are readily available and advertising dollars can more accurately be mapped, the cost of cable television for the internet streamers goes down while the rate of return on value leads higher returns. There’s also a certain amount of interactivity that can be done with mobile users that wouldn’t ordinarily be done by normal tv watchers. These interactions can be done with the standard remote controls of whatever platform gets hosted, be it Roku, sling.tv, Sony tv, Apple tv, Google tv, Amazon fire, chromecast, but hopefully not the defunct “smart tvs” that mostly get tv wrong from a user experience. (I’ve made better websites). I must rectify my previous parenthetical because LG now has WebOS, which powers their very intuitive interface. I’m fond of it for nostalgic purposes, but it’s also really slick, and I would cherish the opportunity to operate one on a regular basis. In any case this new cable provider now needs those existing contracts to support delivery of the content over network/web based channels dedicated for such purposes. Advertising dollars can be acquired and targeted for all respective audiences, times, and frequencies. It’s a smarter move. No wonder aereo got killed like the electric car died its first death. The stagnant, old providers of entertainment and news will be a thing no more as focus can be placed on building out faster networks and streaming technology. What do you say, punk?