WSJ writes that “as broadband connections proliferate, so do the opportunities for niche video-content providers.”
People can now watch thousands of movies, TV programs and other content whenever they want, using computers, cellphones and on-demand services offered by cable and satellite companies. Internet giants Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. are both making video search and other video features a priority. Moreover, technology companies from software giant Microsoft Corp. to start-up Akimbo Systems Inc. are making it easier to watch video content from the Internet on television.
All this is happening at a time when telephone companies like AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. are planning to use Internet technology to deliver television. Unlike traditional cable technology, which can only deliver a limited number of channels, distributors using Internet technology technically can make available an unlimited amount of content. AT&T executives predict they’ll have 1,000 or more channels within the next 18 months.
This explosion of new ways to distribute TV is scary for established media companies, because it’s threatening the commercial-driven business model that has supported the television industry since its inception. The greater the variety of content available from new sources, the fewer eyeballs will be watching traditional networks. Also, many of the new technologies, like video on demand, make it easy for viewers to skip commercials and for programmers to sell directly to consumers without having to go through cable or satellite operators.