According to a new article in Silicon Valley Insider, cable is starting to feel the pinch from online video, and no wonder. With old technology, no way to get a la carte programming, and a disdain for the customer that borders on the pathological, I’m not surprised cable is hurting.
Anecdotally I’ve talked to many friends who have dropped cable for online, some of them going so far as to get rid of their televisions. I keep my TV around as a video game monitor, but it doesn’t do much past that. And with the advent of iPhone apps like Al Jazeera English, it won’t be long before I pick and choose the channels I want (in my case, mostly news) and carry them around in my pocket.
Of course, Canada is even more of a monopoly than the United States, and to date we haven’t had anything as disruptive as Hulu arrive on the scene (though it’s likely on the way.) And our cable and TV execs are if anything in more denial than their US counterparts; when I was at the Banff TV Festival a few months ago one exec said with a straight face that “We’ll be just fine, we have HD!” Yes, never mind that all it takes is a clever bit of math and the web will soon have as good or better quality video than HDTV, you just wallow in your comfortable lies, TV exec.
Long term, I think the television industry as it stands is doomed. Eventually everything will come to our televisions, computers and other devices through the internet, and those who can adapt to that new reality will survive. Those that can’t…won’t.