Innovation right here


Rapid changes are taking place in the online and cable TV markets

The TV broadcast landscape is changing so rapidly these days that it’s hard to predict how things will play out. Local cable providers continue to expand their anywhere, anytime presence by driving on-demand, online and mobile viewing options. Netflix is ​​courting more content providers in an effort to offer more choices online. Hulu is finding its gap between networks widening as it contemplates changing its delivery model. Now, Amazon has joined the party with the news that they plan to launch a movie and TV streaming service to compete with Netflix and Hulu.

Cable companies like Comcast, Charter, and Time Warner Cable have begun offering more online options to existing cable TV subscribers. Most cable customers who subscribe to both television and broadband Internet service can view network and cable content on most providers’ websites. This includes not only network and cable channels, but also sometimes premium broadcasters like HBO, Showtime, and Starz. As more and more users expect to watch TV and movies on mobile devices, providers are starting to respond. Netflix and Hulu are already available on streaming devices like Roku, gaming machines, and Blu-Ray players. Additionally, both services are available on Apple’s iPhone and iPad and are expected to appear on Android devices soon. Some analysts suspect that cable TV providers want to make sure customers remain cable TV subscribers in the face of ubiquitous online content. To that end, Comcast has announced the launch of an iPad app called Xfinity TV that gives Comcast cable and broadband Internet subscribers access to streaming shows.

Seeking to appeal to cable customers, media outlets are reporting that Hulu is considering changing its delivery model and moving to the live channel and on-demand content. By bundling channels into packages similar to those offered by cable and satellite providers, Hulu hopes to build a new market for end users who are comfortable getting all their entertainment online. At the same time, Amazon is set to announce a competing streaming service as part of its Amazon Prime membership program. Amazon Prime currently offers free shipping on all orders for an annual fee. By adding movies and TV shows, Amazon hopes to boost its streaming rental and purchase business that has lagged far behind Netflix. In the end, all of these changes should be good for customers. More options from more competitors will push streaming content beyond what could be imagined just a few years ago. The question now is how much are customers willing to spend for convenience. With so many content providers available, there will be winners and losers. Right now, each one is struggling in the hope of remaining on their feet when the dust settles.


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