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The End of TV As We Know It?

The Countdown Is On Until I Cut The Cord With Cable TV

I have friends that don’t have cable.  They watch programs streamed from their computers and phones.  I’m not there yet.  I still have cable, but I’m not sure for how much longer.  It’s because the entire distribution model is getting ready for something big to happen.

 

When I was a TV executive, earlier in my career, I created original local and network programming. We produced shows that were delivered live over the air, over a network, over a cable subscription, and the country made an appointment to watch these programs at home.  But today, we all want to watch whatever we want whenever, and wherever we want it. The DVR provided by cable/satellite work for that now, but it’s really just an extension of the old system that is destined to be gone soon.

 

What I’m talking about is a world with programs delivered in real time.  Not dependent upon linear program schedules and time zone restrictions.  Not paying for the 600 channels I don’t watch, but just "my" channels, which is probably around 12, with the flexibility to add more or less instantly.  For me, in my focus group of one,  Apple TV seems to be the trojan horse that could change my world...and quickly. Their little box connects  to the web and my flat screen, giving me a "page"  of  buttons for movies, tv shows, Netflix, NHL, etc.   I pay for just what I watch, which these days is House of Cards, Downton Abbey, and then a long list with "someday I need to see this."  What Apple TV doesn’t currently offer me is news, various live sporting events, live event coverage, awards programs, etc.

 

So, when do I cut the cable cord?  Give me  "My Apple TV", a page that I can customize with the buttons (channels) and all the programs those channels produce.   I pay for it, when I watch it, and without a monthly contract, like cable today.  That will be scary stuff for the existing networks to figure out a business model that gives them compensation for their content, one with commercials, and one without.  But when it’s figured out, look out.

 

A CBS Sports button?  Yep.  I might like a CNN Breaking News button that I can click now and then.  An NFL button?  Done.   And to keep up with local news back home, I might drag a local station button on to my page, with just my channels,  in the cloud, on demand, and without the time zone embargoes. And then I can watch Jimmy Fallon at 711pm or whenever NBC has the show posted.

 

While that will be great for consumers, it’s just the beginning of the disruption for the industry. Besides what it does to cable, what happens to local network affiliates when their prime-time programming is bypassed, well  beyond what’s happening with On Demand today?  Will local stations and local news organizations survive? And how do advertisers reach consumers in this model?

 

I’m just looking forward to that click of a button that changes the way we watch TV...

 

Discuss it in-depth with our strategists at The Garrigan Lyman Group (GLG) http://www.glg.com

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