For a while Apple inc. has announced that they’ll be making TV content. Spielberg making this, Jennifer Aniston starring in that. Problem is they didn’t announce how customers will view their content till last week. Customers will get to view their content on any Apple device that has the “TV app”. The content will be free and will have the garage-band business model of buy our expensive device but have this software (content) for free. With this news it got me thinking, where is the future of TV headed? All the top tech companies whose money maker isn’t in TV content have their foot in the water; Apple, Amazon, and Google (YouTube Originals and YouTube TV). So they can afford to take the money from their primary ventures and put enough money to make decent content.
When everyone had cable and cord cutting wasn’t reliable as it used to be, it seemed everyone’s dream was to have what channels you wanted, a la carte. Well, be careful what you wish you for because every company is having their own streaming service no matter how niche it is. FX, AMC, Disney, ESPN just to name a few are part of cable packages but now have their own service which you pay monthly ranging from 4.99 to 7.99.
This isn’t even taken into account the amount of bundled streaming services that come with these channels as well such as Sling TV, DirecTV NOW, PS Vue, YouTube TV and Hulu Live.
So where is the future of TV headed? Are people going to migrate back to bundled packages on cable? Too many companies took a page out of Netflix’s book and put out their own product online. It might backlash and make people go back to cable.
To me I don’t think there will be a dominant business model of cable, cord cutting, or online bundled packages. The consumer is going to have to decide how they watch TV, what shows they like, and how much they are willing to spend. Even buying single shows from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon is a good option so you’re not taking money out of your pocket.
But with all this confusion that I laid out, it could lead us back to age of piracy. An article by tech dirt says that by 2022, households will have to subscribe to streaming services just to get the content they want. Piracy helped music by helping people discover it and that in turn helped Pandora come to market with an online radio station. As the tech dirt article says, if companies don’t recognize the history of piracy, they are doomed to repeat it.