Over the Top TV from Traditional Broadcasters: Many choices, Price Pressure Downward, but Confusion

Want to watch HBO on your tablet? There’s an app for that. Want to watch CBS too? Get another app. NBC? You betcha they have an app for OTT viewing. Sony? Hope you got at least the 64GB iphone because we’re just warming up with streaming TV.

NBC continues to join the maelstrom of cloud-based, stand-alone, Web-based TV services, with one featuring comedy shows and content. NBC’s online channel will cost you around $3.50 a month and feature daily content from the likes of “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” as well as clips from “Saturday Night Live.”

This announcement comes on the heels of news that Nickelodeon is starting up a kids-based streaming service.

There are currently now approx 6 variations on this concept, either online and available or about to be online and available:

Many of these come as advertising-supported TV ventures. But HBO will add a non-advertising effort for its stand-alone Web-based TV service sometime this year.

Still, if you’re a consumer hearing all this, what do you do right now? Pick one of this services? Two? Four? Are those consumers thinking, “Finally, I can choose the few networks I want!”?

TV content owners must be figuring it’s best to be in the market than not — especially as traditional pay TV distribution providers are slow to roll out their TV Everywhere services.

It’s not only about TV Everywhere. TV executives are also annoyed and tapping their feet waiting for the slow innovation to measure and sell much of the current digitally delivered video. Recently NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said he believed about 70% of the digital views for “The Tonight Show” are “un-monetized.”

Adding more confusion are those existing arrangements some TV content producers have with digital platforms. For instance, “Tonight Show” clips already run on YouTube, while “SNL” episodes air on Hulu and Yahoo.

Consumers may be looking at all this activity and estimating future TV financial decisions. These calculations will come with tracking what channels theywatch regularly and which ones they will never have any interest in.

Still, for traditional pay TV providers, the branding of “all you can eat” TV services continues to have value. People are naturally wasteful. With that in mind, we should be thankful the big media corp’s don’t ask us to download an app for every show, I think.

 

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