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Rear view of young man watching televisionThe age of dominance of cable networks might be over. Companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are stepping in, delivering a practically infinite selection of TV shows, movies and documentaries.

Netflix vs. Everyone Else

The only edge cable TV companies had over the likes of Netflix was their ability to provide new shows, new content and “event TV” or exclusive premieres only available on certain stations, which streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon couldn’t provide.

The cable companies have started to take notice. Netflix currently holds a massive 33 percent of the market for streaming videos, according to Wired.com. This puts them miles ahead of their closest competitor, Amazon, who only controls a meager 1.8 percent This seems like a very comfortable lead, but with cable companies taking notice and starting their own versions of streaming sites—HBO Go for example—Netflix and other companies like it need to stay well ahead of an ever-changing curve.

Streaming Habits

The edge cable companies have over internet companies like Netflix and Hulu could be disappearing quickly. Instead of using the cable method and producing a massive amount of content, hoping a few of them will catch on big time—”The Walking Dead,” “CSI,” etc—Netflix has access to millions of its subscribers viewing habits and preferences. The same algorithm it uses to suggest movies and TV shows its viewers might like is now being put to use to create its own content.

Netflix Gets Exclusive Content

Netflix has already acquired the rights to the hit TV show “Arrested Development,” with a new exclusive season available only to Netflix customers. The company also just outbid HBO and AMC for rights to two full seasons of a new show “House of Cards that,” based on its calculations will be hugely popular.

Internet Streaming is Not Cable

Cable networks do have something in their favor. A federal appeals court in New York has just shot down another streaming company’s bid to be declared a cable network so it could re-broadcast content from over 4,000 stations. Ivi wanted the rights to retransmit content from other stations for its members for a fee of $4.99.
The court rejected its appeal, saying if it declared Internet streaming companies as cable companies, it could undermine the whole market.

Although cable TV will always have the benefit of live content like sports games and news programs, it stands to lose a massive percentage of their viewers to the more convenient online options.

The victory for cable TV in New York has not comforted the cable companies. HBO and DirectTV now offer streaming access to their exclusive content in the hopes this will help them compete with the giants like Netflix and Amazon.

However, competition usually breeds progress, and that is good news for the TV consumer. Whether it is on Netflix, HBO, regular cable TV or any other new form of content consumption that might arise in the future, with more companies battling for viewer’s attention and dollars, we can hope to see more, better-produced, and more easily accessible content in the future.

 

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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