How much longer can cable and other pay TV providers charge us $100 per month for….we’re not so sure? Storm clouds are gathering in the form of a new wave of new competition, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of corporations. Consumers are now perfectly comfortable watching TV through the Internet, opening up an alternative “channel” to coax and satellite
Perhaps you spotted this story on Monday about Intel opening up offices in New York and Los Angeles. The tech hardware giant wants to offer live and on-demand television, but its plans have been slowed by content providers (that is, TV stations) who so far are refused Intels (cash) advances. So Intel is moving people into the belly of the beast, hoping it can press flesh and buy its way into TV content that way.
A few months ago, Google sent a similar shot across the bow, letting leak (NYTimes counter applies) that it is also arm-twisting TV channel creators for licensing deals so it can consider its own IP-TV service. Google doesn’t sound as far along as Intel, but the software and search company could catch up pretty quickly, and has the added assets of the YouTube video service to make such an offering even more enticing.
What’s enticing to me? Competition from Google or Intel set-top boxes could sweep the country much faster than Verizon’s FIOS, or other pay alternatives. Internet TV wouldn’t require infrastructure upgrades. It wouldn’t necessarily mean the end of overpriced cable or crazy bundled services and long-term contracts from satellite, but it would be a good start.
Something to watch: How hard will it be for the Intels and Googles of the word to sign agreements with TV stations? If they refuse, even when higher license fees are offered, let’s hope regulators in Washington D.C. start asking the appropriate (anti-trust) questions.