There was one topic conspicuous in its absence during Apple's quarterly conference call this week: The company's plans for the TV. And that's surprising given the TV industry's remarkably rapid embrace of everything a la carte and OTT, from HBO Now to Showtime's OTT service to Dish's Sling TV to Comcast's Stream.
Some call it "network flow," but I've also heard it referred to as the "network effect." It's how programmers monetize their expensive hits. After all, what incentive does ESPN have for paying the NFL $1.9 billion a season for TV rights if it can't ubiquitously brand its coverage and drive viewership to other programming?
To hear executives at America's No. 4 and No. 10 cable companies explain it, television is a dead business. "The video subscription model is broken and cannot be fixed," read one presentation slide from Cable One. I agree with the first part. But I'm not sure about that second part.
In sports, some fans will adamantly deny the facts that are right in front of them. The same dynamic, I suspect, is at play when many of us ponder pay-TV subscriber losses, and still wonder if wholesale cord-cutting by U.S. consumers will soon get underway. There shouldn't be any debate that radical change in the way U.S. consumers watch television is already occurring.
From all of the staff at FierceCable, we want to wish you a happy and safe Memorial Day holiday. In observance of the holiday, we will not be publishing on Monday, but we'll back in your inbox on Tuesday morning.
I was sitting with a Suddenlink executive in the press room at INTX in Chicago two weeks back. I had just covered the "Captains o' Cable Industry" keynote, during which Cablevision's James Dolan notoriously proposed corporate marriage to Time Warner Cable's Rob Marcus right on stage as Charter's Tom Rutledge and several other CEOs looked on in horror.