Kelly Scott Madison

Unlocking the Future of TV



Provider models are shifting and rulesare being broken. How will audiences and the industry react?

Recent watershed announcements from HBO and CBS have initiated an onslaught of speculation regarding what’s next for the rapidly-changing television landscape. Change seems to finally be upon us and sorting through the hype to predict the short and long term effects of the recent advancements is essential for wise marketers. While changes certainly won’t be instantaneous, we may soon bear witness to an increasingly accelerating shift towards the metamorphosis of traditional TV into a true multi-platform video ecosystem.

So What’s Really Happening Now?

Landmark changes in the television landscape are coming in the form of increased over the top (OTT) options. Going OTT means that a content creator offers video by going over the top of, or bypassing the traditional cable or satellite provider distribution options in favor of an online distribution platform. Currently, popular OTT options are Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. As of 2014, nearly half of all American households subscribed to at least one of these three, which charge subscription fees for access to licensed and original content with no connection to traditional cable. Over the past two months, HBO and CBS dropped industry bombshells by announcing their intentions to create OTT hubs for proprietary content; hubs which will require no cable subscription for all access.

This is the first time major content creators have dared to bypass the cable MSOs like Comcast, Time Warner, Dish, DirecTV and RCN. Up to this point, consumers wishing to view HBO content online were required to verify their cable subscription before gaining access to entertainment options. In addition, this is the first time that traditional linear channels are working directly with consumers and allowing pure online release of their programming. This means that CBS will likely begin to experiment with launching new programming through their online space without first airing it on traditional broadcast.

It is an exciting time in the TV landscape. However, a deeper understanding of the cause and effect of HBO and CBS’s decisions reveals some interesting and complex issues that must be resolved before achieving widespread success.

Will HBO and CBS Succeed Without the Cable Companies’ Support?

In short, yes they will likely succeed. However, success is a relative term in a metamorphosing marketplace and will look different for HBO and CBS. In terms of infrastructure for their new platforms, neither entity has anything to lose. Both properties are experienced with online hubs. HBO has its GO app and CBS has long supported with online video experiences. In addition, CBS and HBO are not new to the content creation marketplace and come armed with deep original programming archives as well as strong frameworks for creating new original content. After all, HBO and CBS have always been in the business of powerful programming creation, while competitors like…

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