The Internet has drastically changed people’s lives and now, as people are more mobile, it allows them to consume entertainment when they want, even on the go.
Because of this, service providers are looking for ways to get more people sign up for their services, such as offering on-demand programming. But as the TV industry has taken over the Internet, strategic partnerships and royalty deals must be put into place. Here’s a rundown of the latest team-ups in the online TV sector that are bringing the industry up to speed.
Satellite TV company Dish Network Corp. has struck a deal that puts it ahead in the online TV race. Charlie Ergen, Dish’s co-founder and current Chairman of the Board, revealed that it has teamed with the Disney Channel, ABC, and ESPN to deliver their content online or over-the-top programming. The company is said to be working on deals with other cable networks to get rights to air their content online.
“Every deal is different, but certainly there are parameters we agreed to that will help us define how we approach the OTT business,” said Dave Shull, Dish’s chief commercial officer, in an interview. “Disney-ESPN content has a great deal of appeal and is a core of what we want to offer on the OTT side. They moved first and we will build around that.”
The only downside to this deal is that Dish will be putting a limit on AutoHop, a technology that allows subscribers to skip commercials. Disney was one of the programmers that went to court to stop AutoHop as they deem it was hurting their revenues. Dish agreed to disable AutoHop for Disney programs three days after its air date, and Disney agreen to drop litigation over AutoHop.
Netflix has struck a deal with Comcast wherein it agreed to pay the latter a fee so its content will be streamed to subscribers faster. The two companies stated that it will be beneficial for subcribers as the deal ensures quality Netflix streaming for Comcast subcribers for years to come. Unfortunately, this also opens the posibility that subcription fees will skyrocket.
It is a fact that online TV in nothing without the Internet, but this controversial Netflix-Comcast deal seems to be putting power back in the hands of service providers. This could start a trend with ISPs asking for a fee from content providers just so their programs would be streamed faster. Content providers will then charge subscribers extra because of the fee they are paying to ISPs. But you then have to consider that subscribers are also paying for their own Internet connection, so it’s like they are getting charged double for online content.
Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam laid the company’s plan for online TV at its investor conference. McAdam stated that he is personally meeting up with CEOs or large content providers in the hopes of creating a partnership so it can deliver more online TV programs to mobile platforms. Verizon also revealed that it’s also looking into delivering a service via wireless airwaves aside from broadband.
Verizon already offers online TV content via its FiOS service but it’s looking to improve the service. In January, it acquired Intel’s OnCue Cloud TV platform, in response to its declining voice business. Some are doubful that Verizon will be able to leverage OnCue as the platform was deemed a failure since Intel got to nowhere with it.
McAdam added that he has been in talks with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings for a possible deal similar with what it struck with Comcast.
In the UK, Roku has introduced its Streaming Stick, a small USB-like device, which allows consumers to to stream more than 750 channels of movies, TV episodes, music, news, sports, kids’ shows and free programming, in 1080p HD quality. A Roku app can be downloaded on a user’s smartphone so it can be used to control the programms, or they can just use the Roku WiFi remote to go through hundreds of channels.
The Roku Streaming stick will be available in the UK by late April for £49.99.
Roku also recently launched new channels such as 4OD, YouTube and Condé Nast Entertainment.
Roku launched the Streaming Stick ahead of Google’s Chrome in the UK, but even if it launched later, UK consumers will probably choose it as it offers more content.
“We ship with more channels than our competitors, and we think that’s one of the core drivers behind why a consumer chooses a service,” Lloyd Clarke, director of product management at Roku, said.