“Cannon Fire” concludes our eye-opening investigation of
Cable Television in America.
Pirates of Coax.:
1. Pirates of Coax.
2. Looking Glass.
3. Cannon Fire.
Cable Operators and the Chinese Politburo Share a Sharp Fate;
Deliver or Pack, quickly.
“Is there gas in the car?”
Some rules rank as universal. Change. Who will emerge baptized from this mad washing machine of broadband and media?
Content creators love Netflix. Why? Netflix has a “hands-off” content creation policy. Who doesn’t love that? Who needs a second Daddy? Content is king. Content is the fuel you burn, except Netflix isn’t burning anything. NFLX is ringing the precise right triangle for both creators, and their own perhaps sparkling future.
Creative types can be twitchy, or idiosyncratic. As a rule these people work best when left alone to get on with it. Netflix knows this. Every quarter Netflix’s Originals content vault is logging in more launches, seasons, and shows. They know that too. They’re adding it all up. Remember “Orange is…?” People will be for years. And every year henceforth, Netflix will benefit–over and over. That’s the Disney Gold model. National average monthly cable bills come in at around $200.00. That’s $2400 a year. Netflix streaming is $8. You don’t need cable to get it. Yo, and old-line teles?
Treat yourself. All ATT investors need time on ATT’s website. It’s big. It’s blue. Blood clot. If you love Egyptian hieroglyphs, you’ll be fine. If you own it know it.
The media industry snaps and toe-taps to the tune of aspirational acquisitions. ATT got Direct, and Verizon acquired AOL and several Yahoo assets: ATT and Verizon continue to roll out their new bundles; U-Verse which includes Direct TV, and FIOS, Verizon’s new full bundle of phone, internet, and TV. Availability varies.
Simultaneously we see cable operators seeking cell phone service to fill-out their newest bundle. Sprint is looking hard at that now, and not T-Mobile. T-Mobile rocks, both as a service and a stock. This is a fetching farce for any investor. Really–invest in anything like cable packagers grabbing for mobile phone service, or a monster telecom with no growth, legacy businesses, and saturation coverage? Meanwhile, our big phone players, the keepers of communication, seek content to pipe through their already existing systems.
T ‘s a player, but too large to manage. Banks and conglomerates often suffer in the same manner. Too big, period. Ever witnessed a U-verse install? The people down the hall went all U-verse. Pumped to the gills, they waited. A year later their new U-verse was up and running–in only one year. ATT’s website is like a trapeze act. Both the business and bundling are complicated by nature, yet people pay for management of exactly such complications. Confusion seems T’s sales strategy–confuse and conquer. Seem familiar? Now ATT’s loaded to acquire Time-Warner. Under Trump that’s a done deal. ATT says the move will produce greater profit and make it easier to deliver some content. Hum. Film at Five?
“Some content,” being delivered to the troops, the easier AT&T way.
Once again we are looking at a huge delivery system operator hoping to lock-up a huge chunk of content; Warner Bros., CNN, TNT. Fact; these are the same people famous for “cramming” and ‘deceptive practices” concerning unlimited data. How many times has ATT been charged with fed-level illegality?
ATT’s planned trip from telecom to Everything-com will not produce synergies. Not really, not lasting. Any potential savings will be lost in tangled loops of mismanagement. Inspect the site. Call them up and ask about bundles, specific local/PBS channels, and pricing. That’s the retail front. The industry is complex and complicated. Anyone would have some trouble.
Cable television plant.
T is not Amazon. These are the people who camouflaged their illegal intelligence agency access door by providing it with a number but no door handle. Remember how that worked out. Do you wan these people handling your entertainment? The company seems incapable of consistently sending out fraud-free phone bills. Add in some television. Anyone remember “cramming.” That was when T was taken to task by the feds for deceptive/fraudulent charges “crammed” into phone bills they posted. Did anyone outside the actual case realize that each post marked bill represented a separate charge? So, technically they could have been charged with millions of counts.
Scanning for crammers.
Cable bundles are like shopping malls. Packages are arranged around anchor channels, CNN, ESPN, FOX, local affiliates, and other large draws such as MSNBC, TNT, TBS, AMC, FX, TWC. When Sears began its’ multi-decade fold-up, malls felt the absence. They adapted, yet face additional pressure now.
So ESPN doesn’t pull quite like it once did. Some people dislike the “sports” surcharge once itemized on broadband bills. That charge went stealth.
Viewership has slipped, and price-fatigue is real. Hopes rose when savvy Disney CEO Bob Igor announced their “Over the top direct-to-consumer sports streaming platform.” False alarm. It’s an add-on arrangement, with lower tier teams and less watched sports. That flap proved no help toward liberation from the onerous fat-bundle era of cable. Fat-bundles still busy thuggin’. Yet, read the wider landscape.
It’s crowded combat for viewers, ugly-hard and thicker by the day.
Cable pricing so-long in unbridled ascendance will reach for a brand-new level, somewhere lower down. Dreaming? Netflix. No ads. On demand. $8 bucks. WilS Slashing knives may gleam at dawn.
What’s out there? Lots. We see Verizon has their Go90 mobile platform, and that kid’s channel, and FIOS. HBO now offers HBO now, and GO, a stand-alone mobile service, offering all of HBO’s plethora of pretty impressive and vibrantly-growing content. HULU is also bulking up, not to mention Amazon’s serious push as both a service and content creator—check out “The Grand Tour,” from the guys who did “Top Gear.” AMZN also picked up Billy Bob for the edgy Amazon original “Goliath,” set in L.A. Billy Bob is white hot again, aglow from a knock-out success in “Fargo” the spectacular FX series. Amazon now even offers monthly video service for 9.99, or add in two-day shipping and get both for $12. Did it—love it.
Netflix in the early days offered a cash reward to anyone who could engineer predictive software for movie lovers. Now they possess the very best predictive algorithms in the business, and the world’s largest industry data ball. All things remaining equal, NFLX will continue to lead SVOD. Data is king. The data NFLX collects and analysizes tells them exactly what people like, how much they like it, how they behaved while viewing, and what they might like in the future.
NFLX knows best how to direct content investment dollars. NFLX also sports the best policy for content creators—“hands off.” Creators exercise a free hand to create and develop with NFLX. Network TV execs will manage you right down to the sock drawer. Those days are dead. NFLX also will continue to fully control said content it creates, Just like Disney. That means intellectual property profit.
Ad-bag liner TV almost suddenly to us has become almost nostalgic. There’s a punchline poised on the lips of an expectant nation. Cable TV appears to have peaked in 2000 at 68.5 million. Since it has slowly declined to 54.4 million in 2013. How much do you think the rate of mobile video consumption has risen since then?
Never has a more detailed picture of media’s future been in doubt. Never have analysts’quality questions of that future penetrated so deeply into a calcified old-line frame.
Bag TV’s been good to us. They shake it up then pour it over us–ads and all. We’ve bathed and were dazzled. That’s the point. We are indeed deeply indebted, endeared, and adoring. Yet, it’s called choice. As players produce more and far better content, such as AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” we the people jockey for a seat. But as this media industry transforms, do we invest? More will be revealed as the mad flourish of industry positioning plays out. Consumers will chart their own path. Investors might follow the enormous bouncing data ball, the one Netflix is driving directly to the money hole, still cupping the most powerful data ball in the biz.
A la carte cable bliss. Not quite yet.
Images sourced from Pixabay.