What’s now more clear than ever is that the Internet will soon be everywhere: on mobile devices (as is already true), in cars (see Ford) and, finally, in the living room. I’ve been wanting to write something for a long time on the Internet on TV and its potential impact on cable companies. CES makes it unavoidable.
Internet content is coming to TV very quickly:
- Samsung to launch app store that lets you tweet from your TV
- Yahoo! Brings the Internet to More Living Rooms Around the World
- Skype Supports High-Definition TV and PC Video Calls
- Opera Software and GooMe Interactive deliver the best Web and home media experience on any TV
- BBC to allow internet through TV
Netflix is now available directly to TV and indirectly through many set-top boxes. Microsoft in its keynote at CES last night spoke a fair amount about Internet or PC content on TV (as well as social media features of Xbox Live).
Cut to three years from now: all new TVs feature some built-in Internet capability. Those that don’t offer it can be paired with one of several set-top boxes that bring the Internet and Internet-type services to TV.
What happens to cable cos? They become the next in line to lose revenue and see subscribers abandon ship.
Most of what’s on TV is simply garbage and people are increasingly frustrated with paying $60 or more per month for it. Bundles that provide Internet, TV and phone may save subscribers because there will be huge inertia around making changes under those circumstances. In addition, unique content not otherwise available online (e.g., sports) may encourage some people to hold on to cable TV subscriptions.
It’s clear, however, that the TV is becoming just another screen that provides access to content and, increasingly, online services.
So the combination of Hulu + Netflix + YouTube, iTunes, combined with Facebook, online gaming, email, search, etc., will represent more than enough “entertainment” to satisfy most people. Goodbye cable!
The dispute between Fox and TimeWarner cable is indicative of the battles to come as everyone scrambles for more revenue. And such battles will likely fuel increasing cable bills to consumers. That in turn will only exacerbate what I’m describing.
Other thoughts . . .
Yahoo!, Samsung and others are creating widgets or apps for TV, making the approach similar to mobile.
Here’s an interesting, related story about AT&T selling local ads into U-Verse cable TV:
AT&T plans to begin offering local ad insertion opportunities for its U-verse TV service this year, a top company executive said Tuesday. The real estate will resemble what cable operators offer advertisers for local spots on cable networks they carry.
For U-verse, marketers apparently would be able to thread ads into homes in the approximate 120 markets in 21 states that the telco TV services. Large markets include Houston and Atlanta.
This is very much like Comcast, which has a large local sales force. AT&T already provides yellow pages content on U-Verse but local publishers generally should plan for the day when TV becomes a meaningful distribution medium for local (online) content and advertising.
The Internet on TV is not here in the same way that mobile is today. But it’s coming.