[opendtv] Re: Sony To Take Viacom Over-The-Top | Multichannel

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:19:41 +0000

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> You view the availability of content from the MVPD bundle, based
> on authentication that you are paying the subscriber fees, as an
> act of desperation.

Yes, I do. Keep milking the old model until it gives out. John Skipper said as 
much himself. Today, NPR reported that overall, MVPD subscriptions are dropping 
at 3 percent per year, and that number is 5 percent per year for the 24 to 35 
age group. So yes, to understand a trend, this is the type of information 
you're supposed to take into account. As John Skipper is doing. And as any 
business has to do, to remain relevant.

> The reality is that this [online option] is adding significant
> value to the MVPD bundle.

To me, that's just MVPD propaganda-speak, Craig. Marketese. Something you'd 
expect your cable guy to tell you, to keep the customer happy with his 
old-school TV setup.

> Netflix may well be expanding into other markets outside the U.S.,
> but the congloms are the big winners here.

Well, of course! That's the whole point. The owners of content can make use of 
aggregation sites such as Netflix, or Amazon, or of sites of their own if they 
so choose, to create any number of different distribution schemes, for THEIR 
OWN BENFIT. Thoroughly different from what reality had to be in the days of 
walled garden wideband networks. That's why trying to keep the exact same MVPD 
bundles online, dependent on the walled-garden-model subscription system, seems 
like such an obvious attempt to milk something for all it's worth. Legacy 
thinking, basically.

> Would consumers like to choose and pay for channels on an ala
> carte basis Bert?

Smart consumers are already voting with their wallets, Craig. See above about 
the NPR news item. Maybe not always a la carte per se, but at least, different 
"cartes." You don't like one restaurant, you are now free to go elsewhere now.

> We are talking about TV of the present

No, *you* keep talking about TV of the present (and mostly past). I'm talking 
about where this is clearly going. The Sony-Viacom deal is the future, as are 
similar deals that will sprout. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, are the future too. What 
content they will get in the future is likely to be different from what they 
have today. You make it sound like they only get old stuff. Even that isn't 
true, and certainly it need not be in the future. The old MVPD bundle is the 
buggy whip. But of course, the MVPDs can also modernize.

> ESPN CANNOT expand their audience enough with free ad supported
> OTT delivery to make up for the $25 billion in subscribers fees
> they collect each year.

You must have missed the part where ESPN is losing viewership. They are busy 
rethinking their different offerings, to stop the loss of viewership, as we 

Craig, here's a cheap shot, I'll admit. Back in 1991 or so, the FCC mandated 
spectrum-compatible HDTV. That was a significant step. It promised HDTV for the 
masses. I had no trouble predicting this HDTV was going to become the "new 
normal" for TV.

Surprisingly, it took "some of us" a good 15 *years* or more, to accept this 
new reality. "Some of us" thought HDTV would be too expensive for the masses, 
and kept insisting it was so, i.e. a "niche market," well after it was 
obviously not. By stubbornly hanging on to this view, even when HDTV prices 
fell to the $1000 mark, but were still not selling as well as the old tired 
NTSC CRTs, "some of us" kept insisting that HDTV was niche. This went on well 
into the mid 2000s, Craig. That's why I say, at least 15 years.

When people hold on to some unreasonable belief system like this, my assumption 
is always that there's some hidden agenda. You know, like when people insist 
that the universe is only 6000 years old. It can't be because they're luminary 
scientists, right? There has to be some ulterior motive. Or at least, that's 
what immediately comes to mind.


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