Live TV is quickly going the way of the record album, and object storage can help you retain viewers and develop new business models.
A few weeks ago, I heard some data points that should make traditional broadcasters shutter… ESPN lost 600,000 subscribers in one month and 1.5M since February! Similarly, NFL ratings are down and overall subscribers to cable have been decreasing since 2012. So, what’s going on? It all has to do with a business model that is inconvenient for consumers combined with increased cord cutting, the cloud, and increased competition. Live TV is now on the same trajectory as the full album.
People simply don’t want to tune in at a specific time, and with the ability to record or Tivo a show, they can no longer justify paying for a large percentage of content that they are never going to watch. It is much cheaper and more convenient to simply subscribe to services such as Hulu and Netflix. When those services don’t have what a viewer is looking for, there is always YouTube or any number of streaming sites. Similar to how music listeners no longer consume the majority of their music in the format the recording industry prefers (the album on CD), viewers of content are moving to on-demand content and binge watching.
Ubiquitous high-speed connectivity, HD devices, and an increase in overall usability is making cord cutting possible. You no longer need to be home to enjoy high-quality content. You can now consume content on the go. The key is cloud infrastructure enabled by utilizing standard hardware. Technologies like object storage are at the heart of the cloud enabling easy expand-as-you-grow scale with instant access over HTTP, all on commodity hardware. Ultimately, the cloud, driven by object storage, enables long-tail storage and delivery of content in an economical way that can still allow a nice profit margin for freemium, ad-based or subscription services.
The cloud and cord cutting have enabled several different competitors to live TV. Most are driven by the consumers’ need for immediate gratification on their own terms—offering a broad range of back catalog content or a whole series at a time—enabling the nation’s new pastime, binge watching. For traditional broadcasters, this means that it is now time to start diversifying your business model by offering various methods of content consumption. I know this isn’t news to you, but what may be news to you is how object storage can help get you there in an easy-to-manage, economical way. This challenge to the incumbent business model happened rapidly in the digital audio space because songs were easy to distribute, quality didn’t degrade in a digital format copy and that quality was acceptable to most. This is now happening for HD content. 100+ Mbit speeds and Fiber mean you can download an HD movie in minutes vs hours and it can be consumed anywhere in HD and streamed to a home theater system from just about any device. This mimics the dynamics of the market and characteristics of digital media the recording industry and music publishers were up against when MP3s and MP3 players took off.
At Caringo, we are watching these trends closely and have helped many in the Media and Entertainment space enable on-demand and long-tail business models. If you are interested in learning more, I will be discussing these topics with George Crump from Storage Switzerland later this week at the “Preserve, Distribute and Deliver – M&Es Three Biggest Data Challenges” webcast. You can attend live on December 1 at 10 AM Pacific/1 PM Eastern and ask questions or watch it on demand after that.