Why Cable Operators Need an Apps Strategy

Embedded app stores are finding their way onto connected HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players and set-top boxes, where streaming video apps are likely to predominate. With the number of connected devices expected to grow rapidly over the next five years, cable and satellite providers could again find themselves facing the threat of disintermediation.…

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The iPad: Cable TV For Publishers?

For the avid news consumer, the monthly cost of using the iPad could quickly mount to $100 or more--cable TV territory. Those using the 3G version will need to tack on $15 to $30 a month more for 3G service. That's going to force consumers to make some tough, and probably pretty narrow, choices as to what content they get on their iPad.…

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The Paradox of Thinking Outside the (Set-Top) Box

The FCC issued its keenly anticipated National Broadband Plan this week, and the biggest immediate impact of the plan could come from its proposal to replace traditional cable set-top boxes within two years with simple "gateway" devices that handle conditional access and tuning but leave all other functionality to other devices or services. One of the paradoxes inherent to the FCC's set-top plans is that the Internet will actually make it easier for cable and satellite providers to deploy scalable new services and functionality without incurring the capital costs involved in upgraded equipment already in subscribers' homes. Combined with their existing relationships with subscribers, that will allow cable operators to quickly erase any competitive advantage gained by third-party STB makers from introducing new features or functionality.…

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For Wal-mart, There’s More to Vudu Than VOD

The initial reaction to Wal-mart's acquisition of digital movie service Vudu last week, reportedly for $100 million, included a sizable helping of skepticism. And, if video-on-demand movies were all there were to the deal, those criticisms might be warranted. But the acquisition of Vudu has more to do with technology than movies on demand, and it's both audacious in its ambition and potentially far-reaching in its implications.…

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Why Apple Could Be a Loser In The Comcast-NBC Deal

Comcast's proposed deal to gain control of NBC Universal has brought predictable expressions of concern from public interest groups and federal officials in Washington about its potential to harm the interests of consumers, advertisers and competitors. Comcast itself has been quick to acknowledge that potential — up to a point, at least — and has moved to demonstrate its "good faith" in addressing those concerns with regulators by, among other things, promising to deal fairly with competitors and downplaying plans to raise paywalls around Hulu and other web-video services. One company not typically included among those that could be harmed by the proposed merger, however, is Apple. Yet if the NBC-Comcast deal goes through as proposed it could present a serious hurdle to Apple's long-term plans to conquer video.…

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Split Decision on Paying for TV Everywhere

While cable programmers are anxious to preserve their existing dual-revenue stream business model (advertising plus affiliate fees), and therefore share operators' interest in discouraging cord-cutting, TV Everywhere also represents an opportunity for them to expand the distribution of their networks. And as Iger made clear, when content owners grant expanded distribution rights they expect to receive expanded payment for those rights in return.…

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