Our industry loves bemoaning the death of SMS, (rumours of said death greatly exaggerated), decreasing margins and the awful OTT people who are trying to take their livelihoods away. While doing so they are turning into a serious threat to another industry – television.
Courtesy of our friends at informitv, recent headlines say it all.
In one, it announced that TalkTalk has signed up over half a million homes to YouView. In another that BT TV now reaches 900,000 customers.
The battle for attention is truly afoot.
Knitting together more headlines from informitv, the story of a real struggle emerges. Young Americans are less and less likely to subscribe to Pay TV, cable companies continue to lose video customers – a million between the two largest in the last year, and Cablevision’s boss recently said that he could see the day when his company stops offering television and makes broadband its primary service.
We might think that our industry is a dynamic, exciting place. Television is almost too exciting to watch.
In the end broadband and ‘television’ will merge and become one. In essence, all screens will simply be windows into content. ‘Television’ as a word will either become the term that used to mean a large box that flickered in the corner, or a generic word for content. Content, or television, will be available on any device, transferable to any device and the billing of it will be seamless.
This scenario strengthens the argument that billing needs to get closer to the device, must be under the control of the customer and must have real-time capabilities backing it up. That is, if ‘television’ providers are going to be able to offer those ‘spur of the moment’ deals that will bring extra revenue in the face of customers beginning to refuse to pay for television. We are beginning to see these emerge in the ‘telco’ world – and the much talked about data roaming deals are certainly taking off. Telcos also understand and are very good at bundling services, they know – or are getting there – how to control churn and in this new market, at least, understand that they cannot innovate, so have set up new ‘television’ divisions.
One has to wonder, when it comes to the television wars, are telcos best placed to win?