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Re: Honestly NOT trying to trash broadcast TV... just reporting what I see on my newsfeeds these days...

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Craig Seeman
Re: Honestly NOT trying to trash broadcast TV... just reporting what I see on my newsfeeds these days...
on May 4, 2013 at 2:09:56 pm

Interesting points made by everyone. I think an issue is that it's not really an "either, or" issue. Shifts don't seem to be absolute except maybe over very long periods.

First we should differentiate between "broadcast" over the air and "cable" TV. Given Cable penetration, Broadcast over the air may well be in such decline as one might question the cost of transmission vs those not connected in any other fashion.

Another assumption is that adding one means of distribution has an almost equal decline in another. There's a decline, but it's far from equal. The numbers I see on "cord cutting" (Cable) is fairly low although certainly noticeable. Ironically some of the cord cutters do use Broadcast over the air since those a freely available.

Online distribution does have a number of advantages as well as disadvantages. Advantages are obviously one is no longer tied to a viewing schedule (appointment viewing). Much of the same content on Cable and Broadcast is available a short time later on line. Additionally when using Netflix and similar services on line, the "b" movies are pretty much the same ones shown on Broadcast/Cable. Additionally all this allows for varying degrees of social interaction with other viewers (and sometimes the creators) through comments and user ratings.

One disadvantage is the fragmentation online causes. It seems more severe than Cable. Cable offers packages of channels but, not all providers offer all channels. That's more extreme in on line distribution. The viewer might get a bunch of TV programs, original content, older movies, on Netflix but it would seem a lot is missing. One could very well end up subscribing to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, buy individual recent releases from iTunes. The result is that the user really does have to buy all the "packages" to get all the content (some of it duplicated across services) to get all the original content. The total bill to the viewer may have no cost advantage.

While I do think Broadcast over the air is in serious decline, Cable in a much milder decline, the result will still be a mix of distribution for some time (years) to come.

For many, a Cable package may still feel more inclusive for "one stop shopping" and, these days, offering more of their content online for VOD viewing without the "appointment."

Least we forget there's another related branch because the Cable services are also major Internet Service Providers and there's still some flux in the economics around that.

The bigger issues is the battle over the "libraries" of content whether, original, licensed shows previously on Broadcast or Cable, older movies, new releases and, the ease of centralized access vs fragmented distribution as well as cost for the viewer. Cable will decline only to the extent where online distribution, with its fragmentation, is OK for a given viewer. It's not a one for one swap.

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