Content is becoming king for OTT video

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Over-the-top video was supposed to disrupt cable by offering on-demand, a la carte access to content that previously had been available only in bundled programming tiers. But it’s becoming ever-more clear that the biggest long-term threat posed by OTT comes not from its unbundling TV but from OTT channels competing directly with the networks on programming.

House of Cards is (apparently) a hit, seemingly validating Netflix’s decision to enlist A-list creative talent like Kevin Spacey and David Fincher. Meanwhile, Amazon recently wrapped the pilot for Alpha House, starring John Goodman and Bill Murray and written by “Doonesbury” creator Gary Trudeau. AOL’s new Brand Group CEO Susan Lyne used to oversee entertainment programming at ABC and wants all AOL content creators to start thinking about video.

Traditional TV viewing, meanwhile, is down by 50 percent since 2002, according to Morgan Stanley, while individual shows and networks are grappling with ruinous ratings declines. The problem for the networks is no longer simply a matter of how people view, it’s what they’re viewing.