I put my conspiracy theory guy pants on this morning as I emailed a couple of media analysts with a half-baked theory whose time has come: In hoisting a controversial new bundling strategy that has irked its programming partners, Verizon is really working to build leverage to negotiate content rights for its upcoming wireless OTT service.
Cisco's Conrad Clemson says he gets a familiar reaction from his cable-industry clients when he tells them he's about to execute one of his favorite technological principles, "destructive testing." "They always go, 'Why would you do that?'" The answer: You can't fix things until you know how they break.
In the area of over-the-top distribution, there are plenty of known unknowns, to borrow some rather infamous political phrasing. We have no idea, for instance, how fast the earliest OTT business models put forth by the pay-TV industry will grow, and whether they'll eventually support the kind of robust margins the business has grown used to.
Could pay-TV's most truculent carriage impasse finally break open by Major League Baseball's Opening Day? TWC is reportedly "actively pursuing" a deal to expand coverage of its Dodgers channel, SportsNet LA.
I can't say I'm not intrigued by the possibility--seemingly real this time--that Apple will launch a streaming pay-TV service. But at the end of the day, will it really matter to me if I'm seeing it via a groundbreaking $40-a-month OTT service, or the TV Everywhere component of a stripped down $40-a-month traditional cable package?
Let me first say that I'm not a cord cutter. Really, I'm not. I'm just experimenting. Lots of guys who aren't cord cutters do it. But after two weeks of liberation from packaged video entertainment programming, I've reached some interesting conclusions.
In observance of Presidents Day, FierceCable will not be publishing on Monday, Feb. 16. We will be back in your inbox on Tuesday, Feb. 17.
If there was a unifying theory at Digital Entertainment World this week, it was that of Ralf Jacob, chief revenue officer for Verizon Digital Media Services: The check is already in the mail for bundled cable, satellite and telecommunications programming services, and we're about to see cord-cutting statistics shoot up like a media technology conference sushi buffet line.
Reviews of Dish Network's new OTT service generally say that it is technologically elegant, but lacking in the breadth and depth of programming necessary to render it "game-changing." Yet Sling TV has a few key differentiating factors that make it more than just a cheaper version of cable.
Don't expect the announcement of Cablevision's Freewheel Wi-Fi-only phone service to spin Randall Stephenson into reenacting the bunker scene from Downfall when AT&T delivers its fourth-quarter earnings report Tuesday afternoon. Freewheel is not a threat of any kind to the incumbent wireless industry.