EVENT HORIZON: two years.
Yes, something big is going on in TV land.
Lots of interesting television broadcast-related signals this past week, especially in the U.S.
For your consideration:
-Broadcasters concerned over 'Zero-TV' homes >>
-Ericsson buys Microsoft's IPTV set-top box software biz >>
-American TV networks threaten to take their toys back after Aereo court victory >>
-Microsoft Xbox could take over your TV >>
First of all, hats off out of sincere respect for the most amazing run in the history of walled gardens. No, it's not over quite yet. The U.S. broadcasting industry still has some years left of protecting itself from real competition. But the writing is now on the walled garden. Big, fat cracks have developed.
It's nice work if you can get it: do you want to subscribe to channel A? You're in luck, because today we're running a special in which you get channels A — G for an extra $30 per month. What?! You don't want B or C or those other crappy channels? You don't like sports? Or Cooking? Or the very classy "Jersey Shore?" Tough luck pal. What's this look like, a restaurant. You can't pick and choose what you want.
But wait, what's this? You're going to Netflix? YouTube? Terrestrial? You're cutting the cord altogether. Hello? Hello? Are you there? Hello?!
Yes, things are really changing now as a new generation of subscribers is getting wise and enabled to consume media in the 21st century way. There is a strong mobile connection here as networks will have to learn that content is content no matter what the screen. Content owners and operators will have to become more flexible in order to adapt to a more tech savvy audience.
So, the Xbox might become the set-top box of the future? Interesting, but not amazing. A current-day Wii already runs Netflix and YouTube. An iPad can stream TV over cellular. A PC gets you much of CNN.
According to Nielsen, there are now five million "Zero TV" households in the U.S. So around 4.5% of Americans rely on the internet via some means for their TV/video content.
Here's a cable to the industry: the balance of power is shifting over the coming years.
Honey Boo Boo, hold the phone.