Online Cable: The Changing Landscape of Television Delivery

- - Adam Kidan
Streaming services and traditional cable companies are both trying to adap to the changing content delivery landscape.

Streaming services and traditional cable companies are both trying to adapt to the changing content delivery landscape.

If you want to be a mover and shaker in the media business in 2013, the changing landscape of content delivery should something you watch closely.  With services like Netflix and Amazon Prime recently making a splash by attempting to transition to content creators as well as delivery systems, it’s no surprise that a familiar name is taking another step toward throwing its hat in the ring.

Ubiquitous tech giant, Google, has been in the news recently as they have been pitching a streaming television service similar to Netflix, but that would carry traditional cable channels to major media companies.  The proposal is lacking in details, but as this Wall Street Journal article reports, Google’s service could serve as an alternative to traditional cable providers.

These types of services have been an eventuality ever since internet speeds were able to handle HD video and there have been years of speculation on what something like this would actually look like.  One of the more glaring gaps in traditional cable service has been the lack of a la carte program.  Make no mistake.  This is not an accident.  Cable providers are leery of providing individual channels for fear that consumers would only be willing to pay for the ultra popular ones, leaving the niche offerings to wither.

Many people see online streaming services as a potential way to disrupt this system, but there are complications.  As the WSJ piece notes, providers who purchase larger packages usually get bulk rates, allowing them to pass the lower prices off on to the consumers.  If Google television service provided a la carte service, they may be forced to command a higher subscription rate.

Another issue not mentioned by the article is that many of the traditional cable providers have not been resting on their laurels when it comes to creating content.  Time Warner owns many of the cable channels it provides, and Comcast, the largest cable provider in the country, owns NBC Universal.  This could be a major stumbling block for services like Google’s as the may encounter media conglomerates who prefer to deliver their content through their own systems.