Will broadcasters Comcast/NBCU and Viacom/AMC/Discovery launch online services direct to consumer? Two reports say both are thinking of doing just that.
Chapter 1: Viacom/Discovery/AMC mull no-sports option (2:20)
Will starts us off with a review of the report from Bloomberg that Viacom Inc., Discovery Communications Inc. and AMC Networks Inc. are thinking of launching a new service together for folks not interested in sports. Since sports are the most expensive channels on pay TV, this should them leeway to deliver a package for less than $20 a month.
In an unusual move, the three have been talking with pay TV operators about launching the services with operator support. However, it’s not clear operators even have the right to do this.
Chapter 2: Comcast/NBCU consider Netflix competitor (6:20)
Another report from Bloomberg suggests Comcast is planning to launch a competitor service to Netflix sometime in the next 12 to 18 months. It plans to leverage content from NBCU. Bloomberg reports that this could include content from channels like SyFy, USA, and Bravo. I am skeptical that it will really be a competitor as it will most likely have a unique set of content with an appeal all of its own.
Chapter 3: The value of download for scripted content (16:40)
Will thinks that the ability to download shows on to a device is a particulary valuable feature for services delivering scripted content. He mentioned that Showtime announced last week that it would allow its SVOD service customers to download its shows. I think download is an important feature. I also think that, overtime, pretty much all scripted content will be delivered on-demand and in SVOD services. Linear channel delivery is just not a very convenient mechanism for viewers.
Will isn’t certain that the two TV channel consortia will follow through with the services, due to license and industry restrictions. I’m very bullish on the idea of them doing it. It gives people more choice. Aside from the increase in complexity, more choice is usually better for consumers.