In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, FierceCable will not be publishing its daily newsletter on Thursday and Friday. We'll be back in your inbox with up-to-date news about the pay-TV industry bright and early on Monday, Nov. 30.
Telecom service providers are facing a multitude of challenges right now. Demand for telecom services is growing while networks are stretched for capacity. But help is on the way.
Those of us in the over-the-top video delivery space have had an interesting seven days. Not only did we learn that the three biggest cable companies are all testing streaming video services, but the operator of a major broadcast network also said it will offer an anticipated new show exclusively on its SVOD platform. Meanwhile, a number of major media conglomerates are signaling their pullback from Netflix. Indeed, a lot of OTT stuff has happened lately.
DirecTV launched pay-TV's first 4K service a year ago, making a handful of archival Paramount theatrical titles and K2 nature documentaries available for download in the UltraHD format and playable on new Samsung 4K sets.
Speaking during the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo keynote panel here, CableLabs President and CEO Phil McKinney declared DOCSIS 3.1 the main theme of this year's tech show. Speaking in the more private confines of a show floor booth several hours later, however, he acknowledged that network virtualization could change a lot of plans.
Situated in New Orleans next week, will SCTE's Cable-Tec Expo 2015 be able to halt attendance declines, which reached 7 percent last year when the show was based in Denver, right in the heart of cable country? In a conversation with me, SCTE President and CEO Mark Dzuban declined to provide attendance expectations for this year's show. According to Multichannel News, the final attendance tally for last year's event came in at around 9,100, down from 9,800 for the 2013 event, which was held in Atlanta.
Of course, as FierceCable's latest special report illustrates, the reality isn't so simple. Operators are spending much of their time deploying cloud-based systems that emphasize low-cost set-top devices. They're launching authenticated TV Everywhere services that leverage streaming devices from the same technology companies that are screaming for the set-top market to be opened up. Operators are also launching new services like Sling TV that use no set-top at all.
Altice bites into the Big Apple: If it can make it there, it — and the cable biz — can make it anywhere
Altice is promising to take an operator notoriously locked in an intense battle with a telco service, Verizon FiOS, in the majority of its footprint, and make it more profitable than cable companies with gobs more scale. For a U.S. cable industry trying to prove to investors it has a future, that strategy could change everything if it is successful.
The pay-TV industry continues to struggle to shed its legacy, outdated technologies and strategies while at the same time reacting to a wide range of competitive challenges like Google Fiber and Apple TV -- and nowhere is the industry's challenges more evident than in the race toward cloud DVRs. The problems dogging the rollout of cloud DVRs highlight the extensive challenges that are unique to the pay-TV industry.
As my wife put two new Eveready Energizer batteries into an Xbox One controller the other day, I reminded her that those batteries were, up until a few years ago, manufactured by Union Carbide, for decades one of the most unpopular multi-national corporations on earth. Well before the infamous Bhopal tragedy, this was something publicly unpopular companies like Union Carbide understood for years: You've got to use -- or in some cases, not use -- your brand strategically. I wonder if some of the same consumer dynamics hold true as Comcast and Verizon chase millennial-aged customers.