Yesterday Henry Blodget made waves with his assessment of the future of the television business.
Well, many an analyst has eulogized the traditional and Pay TV industry in the past years…but I don’t see their demise as imminent, definitely not at the level of these companies’ relationship with the ‘lay’ consumer, not yet…Most consumers don’t want to be bothered by the additional effort required to pull themselves off of cable and Pay TV and activate ‘over the top’…most people want the easy button when it comes to the TV…not to fiddle and figure out how to best get over the top during their hard day’s night and that means still more traditional channels (no pun intended).
So even though I respect Henry Blodget and see him a pretty astute observer and prognosticator of technology things to come (he has been 10 years or more ahead of his time on some things – remember his prediction of Amazon’s $400 share price in 1998…a value that has only REALLY come to pass 10+ years later) he is definitely NOT your average consumer and neither is the experience that he relates in his article. (I am not downplaying his observation – just trying to contextualize it). And let’s face it – television is not the newspaper business – it’s a totally different relationship that we have with our telly and I really don’t see the clear correlation between the two.
In addition, even Blodget says in his note, that the current set up for live information and entertainment is pretty much indispensable. If you’re looking for news and sports, forget “over the top” or Internet based entertainment. It’s just not to be found with sufficient depth, quantity, ease or quality. The infrastructure and network that it takes to deliver these, the complexity of a serious news gathering organization and the proprietary nature and value of those information streams – sports, for exanple – means that the providers of those info streams are not anywhere CLOSE to giving up their franchise and the huge money that it makes for them and putting it online for free. And until someone finds a way around them (and their ownership of that content), there is NO WAY the average consumer will totally disconnect him or herself from cable/pay TV and leave themselves outside that vital ring of information and entertainment.