At 7:13 PM -0500 12/20/06, Steve Wilson wrote:
Well OTA, at least free OTA, I think has some advantage in that its easily portable...tuner in your laptop, tuner in your desktop and now you can use many different PVR programs to record content and watch at your leisure. No fees. Not tied to any service provider.
I agree 100%.This is the logical market advantage for a wireless (multipoint) TV distribution system. I noted multipoint, as there have been a variety of wireless fixed (point-to-point) multichannel TV services offered over the years.
But portability and mobility are not enough, in themselves, since the vast majority of TV viewing takes place at home or in fixed locations like sports bars. Fortunately, a FTA system can also support fixed receivers.
So the real issue becomes the content that can be accessed. Offering content in the free and clear is not enough; you must offer a good representation of the content that people want. The Netherlands serves as a good example. With only three channels of Free OTA TV, cable had a huge advantage and easily walked away with 95% market share. Here in the U.S. the situation is not much better, as most markets get only 4-6 channels with unique content.
Free OTA only seems to be winning when there is an attempt to provide enough programming choice to cause potential viewers to evaluate the offerings and decide whether it is worth the extra cost to pay for a subscription service. When the choice is to pay less for less (i.e. On Digital and USDTV) subscription-fee based OTA services always come up short - the more expensive multichannel services typically win because of greater programming choice.
Personally, I think any programming that contains commercials should be offered in the clear, with access control for content that is not suitable for children.
I do believe that the mobility and portability advantage of OTA can be exploited, particularly with respect to pushing NON-TV content to receivers. The ability to use data broadcasting techniques to push web content and RSS feeds to mobile/portable receivers could bbe a huge competitive advantage.
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