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Pay TV in Store for a Rocky 2012

Tuesday's cable news roundup kicks off with a not-so-cheery forecast that the crummy economy will continue to put the hurt on the pay-TV industry next year.

  • Credit Suisse analyst Stefan Anninger expects the U.S. pay-TV industry to lose 200,000 subscribers in 2012, reversing an original forecast that it would actually gain 250,000 next year. He says cord-cutting is "an oversimplification" of the downward trend and instead attributes it primarily to belt-tightening among "economically-driven cord-avoiders."

  • Visible World has released a tru2way-compliant version of its targeted/addressable advertising platform, which supports live TV and shows recorded to DVRs and can target commercials to individual homes. Visible World's marquee customer is Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), which has upgraded all its headends to support the industry's quasi-standard set-top middleware. Company CTO Gerrit Niemeijer tells Light Reading Cable that Visible World's tru2way play could gain ground in a new breed of hybrid boxes that will still lean heavily on QAM video transmissions.

  • aioTV Inc. , a Colorado-based startup that's developed an HTML5, over-the-top video platform, has scored a US$1 million investment from Canada-based Innovacorp. aioTV aims to bring long-form video, including on-demand and linear channels, to a wide range of devices, including many based on the iOS and Android operating systems. Maxcom Telecomunicaciones of Mexico, one of aioTV's early customers, is offering a mix of video to more than 350,000 subs under a service called Yuzu.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has applied for the European Commission 's stamp on its $12.5 billion pending acquisition of Motorola Mobility LLC , and the regulatory body has set a provisional deadline of Jan. 10, 2012, for its response. Moto Mobility shareholders blessed the merger on Nov. 17, but it still must pass muster at the U.S. Department of Justice as well. (See Cover Sheet: Google to Acquire Moto Mobility.)

  • Turner Broadcasting System Inc. Chairman and CEO Phil Kent and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) Cable Unit President Neil Smit are co-chairing The Cable Show 2012, set for May 21-23 in Boston. It will mark the first time the cable confab will be held in Beantown.

  • The Connected TV Marketing Association , a new advertising and media trade body, has gotten off the ground in New York, London and Melbourne as it looks to capitalize on the rise of broadband-connected sets capable of supporting targeted campaigns and integrated applications. Ogilvy Entertainment President Doug Scott has been tapped as the CTVMA's honorary U.S. chairman.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



  • shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:47:46 PM
    re: Pay TV in Store for a Rocky 2012

    Hi, Jeff -- The news does seem bleak. But my calculator reminds me that a net loss of 200,000 subs on a base of 101 million total users (that number courtesy iSuppli) is 0.2% shrinkage, which isn't all that shrinky compared with the original projected increase of 0.2%. By the way, Nielsen is estimating that the total number of US TV households will decline by 1.2% in 2012, which suggests that our pay-TV pals may be ahead of the game.

    kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:47:46 PM
    re: Pay TV in Store for a Rocky 2012

    Love the new term "economically driven cord-avoiders." Give that man a billable hour off at the bar, he will need it to concoct some new analyst price-justifying terms.


    What's really happening is that the shift to on-demand content is exposing the cable/telco content "packages" for what they are -- overpriced bundles meant to subsidize the provider and producer, not benefit the viewer.


    So the smaller channels have to fall by the wayside or figure out a solo plan to profitability? No tears shed there, it's already happened to many other media outlets, newspapers, trade pubs, etc. Now that people can choose exactly what they want to watch and when they want to watch it, the "bundles' become increasingly unappealing. Just like analysts who mutter crud like "economically driven cord-avoiders." How about just calling them folks who didn't listen to your dumb predictions that they would remain willing ARPU cows.

    kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:47:46 PM
    re: Pay TV in Store for a Rocky 2012

    Love the new term "economically driven cord-avoiders." Give that man a billable hour off at the bar, he will need it to concoct some new analyst price-justifying terms.


    What's really happening is that the shift to on-demand content is exposing the cable/telco content "packages" for what they are -- overpriced bundles meant to subsidize the provider and producer, not benefit the viewer.


    So the smaller channels have to fall by the wayside or figure out a solo plan to profitability? No tears shed there, it's already happened to many other media outlets, newspapers, trade pubs, etc. Now that people can choose exactly what they want to watch and when they want to watch it, the "bundles' become increasingly unappealing. Just like analysts who mutter crud like "economically driven cord-avoiders." How about just calling them folks who didn't listen to your dumb predictions that they would remain willing ARPU cows.

    craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 4:47:45 PM
    re: Pay TV in Store for a Rocky 2012

    Yea, I'm surprised the prediction isn't worse. I guess it speaks to the old sentiment that people would rather cut off their heat before they'd cut off their TV service. But nowadays you can let the heat, cable and electricity go out and just sit in your cold dark house playing with your iPhone. Maybe that's the new definition of the simple joys of life. :)             

    msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:47:40 PM
    re: Pay TV in Store for a Rocky 2012

    Ouch- harsh much? :) I agree to a point, but I do believe that some subsidizing of content should absolutely take place. You have to risk some cash to get good stuff produced. And if you take away the big bundle, it won't be long before "free" content gets added back in to basic packages anyway to sweeten the deal. I don't believe in a true a-la-carte model for the long term. Not viable.


    That said, I'd be fine with a level set. Prices are out of control. Let's get'em down even if we know they'll only creep back up again. 

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