& cplSiteName &

WOW Cozying Up to OTT With Good Reason

Carol Wilson
3/28/2014
50%
50%

The once-combative stance between broadband service providers and over-the-top content and application providers has eased significantly over the past year, as both sides have come to appreciate the value the other brings to what is potentially a profitable relationship.

For many broadband ISPs, a changing attitude is the result of recognition that broadband is, in fact, their primary business -- and that's a major shift for companies that have thought of themselves as cable TV companies or phone companies. At two very different events this winter -- and sorry, I live in the Chicago area and it's still winter -- I have heard first a group of small telcos and then a group of large cable operators admit that they are primarily in the business of delivering ever-faster pipes into businesses and residences.

One of the final panels of Thursday's Next-Gen Cable Technologies and Strategies conference in Denver was probably the most vivid illustration of this change, and John Childress, Director, Product Management, Residential, WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) , its most articulate advocate.

While sharing the stage with representatives of OTT content providers ToonGoggles and Pandora Media Inc. , and OTT enablers Roku Inc. and QuickPlay Media Inc. , Childress said he sees WOW's role, in part, as helping enable its consumer customers to discover and more easily access the widest range of content and applications available to them.

"It's a very fragmented experience today," Childress noted. "There's the set-top box with VoD, the DVR, then all these other boxes -- like Roku and others. No one is bringing that altogether for the consumer. Over the next year, we want to see if we can do that, and bring the same experience to the consumer over all devices."

As an individual who regularly has to dig through the basket of remote control devices on the end-table in the family room to find the one which allows me to reset the input on my TV to the cable box from whatever online video source SOMEONE was watching before me, this is an attractive proposition.

But as Childress and moderator Alan Breznick, Light Reading's cable/video practice leader, noted, for cable providers, the seamless experience may be a lifesaver for their video content delivery business. If online video becomes part of the cable service and is delivered seamlessly, as opposed to thorough a parallel but separate connection, consumers like me will see the greater value of the cable/broadband provider's role.

And higher customer satisfaction is never a bad thing.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/8/2014 | 6:49:41 PM
Re: Hopefully
MarkC73: "At least there's movement in getting to select your own content, as well as mobility in the TV world.  Unlike the music world that needed a crisis to make it start content delivery changes."

I don't see a lot of movement in that direction. Consumers still need to buy whole channels, or packages of channels, to get access to prime premium content. Otherwise they can wait a year for individual episodes of individual programs to become available legally.

 

 
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/30/2014 | 9:17:17 AM
Re: Hopefully
At least there's movement in getting to select your own content, as well as mobility in the TV world.  Unlike the music world that needed a crisis to make it start content delivery changes.  Those cable packages and the channels you pay for but don't watch keep the balance of the universe, for now.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/29/2014 | 10:06:27 AM
Re: Hopefully
You could always buy the Blu-rays, Mitch.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/29/2014 | 10:05:12 AM
Re: Big and dumb is smart again
OTT now looks like it will be far more damaging long-term to the big video content providers than to network operators -- at least the operators that figure out there's more profit in doing the plumbing rather than filling the pipes.
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/28/2014 | 9:17:43 PM
Re: Big and dumb is smart again
People are actually saying that. At the NTCA event I attended in early March, rural telcos were saying they make NO money selling video - in fact they lose money -- so they are looking to SkitterTV Roku and others to deliver a video product that drives up demand for their higher-speed tiers of broadband. And they can make a profit on broadband. 

At the cable event, one person said this a lot - Alan Breznick - and Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia as well. But you can also follow their actrions. The cable industry is investing heavily in figuring out efficient ways to deliver more bandwidth to businesses and to consumers. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/28/2014 | 4:06:37 PM
Hopefully
It would be lovely if carriers, OTT providers, and content companies could join together to start offering channels and individual programs a la carte. A consumer shouldn't have to sign up for a bajillion foreign-language channels (in languages the consumer does not speak), a gazillion sports channels, and forty-eleven home shopping channels just to watch Mad Men.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/28/2014 | 2:33:02 PM
Big and dumb is smart again
Carol, so the pendulum appears to have swung back to the idea that being the arms merchant (i.e., supplying the broadband capacity) is a better business to be in than trying to claw out a space in low-margin markets like video services. Is anybody actually saying that, or do we let the actions speak for themselves?
thebulk
100%
0%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/28/2014 | 2:10:11 PM
About time
Glad to see this relationship changing for the better, I think OTT content can bring a lot of value to cable for both content and experience. 
More Blogs from Rewired
Better Internet access for rural areas is getting a lot of attention from the Trump administration but the plan of action seems less than solid.
Assuming they can get the software architecture right, open source projects represent a faster way to consensus on big issues, he says.
Legacy business services aren't that easily shed when customers resist change but service providers need to find a more aggressive path forward.
PCCW exec David Hughes eviscerates the telecom 'poor me' mindset but with a light touch, Carol Wilson writes.
New services are taking hold, as businesses overcome their trepidation over virtualization and the technology matures, says Jim Sabey.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 22, 2018, Denver, Colorado | Denver Marriott Tech Center
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
September 25-27, 2018, Denver, Colorado
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Net Neutrality Moves Are as Futile as Trump's Comb-Over
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/18/2018
Samsung Plots New 5G Modem – Report
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/18/2018
Ericsson Lurches to $1.8B Write-Down
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/16/2018
Analyst: Verizon's Fixed 5G Is a Loss Leader for Mobile
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/16/2018
Has the 5G Upturn Begun?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/19/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed