Pay-TV: Too Costly to Replicate Online?
Instead, Blaine, whose online video publishing company is owned by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), expects to see some OTT video companies to jump in with the kind of rights that will let them market a reduced package of video content. "Big deals are being struck between content holders and distributors that maintain the [pay-TV] model for the foreseeable future, so that means you won't see something that replaces it," he predicts. Besides, a "full-boat" OTT video offering "is not economically feasible for most players ... but they could create a more tailored package."
The economics of a full pay-TV package have already scared off at least one company that happens to have some pretty deep pockets. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) thought about creating a subscription video service for the Xbox 360, but the high costs associated with that idea caused it to instead work out deals with traditional pay-TV operators to secure rights to some premium content. (See Xfinity TV Meets the Xbox 360 and Comcast, Verizon Connect With the Xbox 360.)
When asked to predict who might try to offer a smaller subscription TV package, Blaine put Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) on the list of likely candidates. "Somebody will test the waters," he said.
And speaking of Apple, he said the iPad is already changing the way people watch and use television, offering a way for users to catch up on shows on a personal level. "It lets me watch all of the content that my wife will not," he joked. But it's also becoming an important companion device to help consumers navigate and interact with the TV. "It's a great steering wheel for the TV," he said.
Separately, Light Reading Cable talked to Blaine here at the show on camera to discuss the company's expanded multi-screen deal with NBCU, some of the trends and challenges being faced by the still-developing TV Everywhere market, and how the proverbial cloud is helping to power Comcast's next-gen X1 video platform. (See Where Will Comcast's X1 Land Next? and Comcast's X1 Video Platform Lands First in Boston .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable