At the moment, there’s no SVOD service owning the marketplace with more veracity than Netflix. In fact, the company’s so confident in its future that it’s begun taking swipes at some of its more “traditional” competition.
During a talk last Monday concerning the its recent push into Latin-America, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated he doesn’t believe there to be much time left in the lifespan of traditional broadcast television.
It's kind of like the horse, you know, the horse was good until we had the car… the age of broadcast TV will probably last until 2030.
What should be noted here is Hastings isn’t necessarily saying the organizations of CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and The CW will be wiped out, but that they’re existing business model will be - that business model being free, over-the-air, ad-based television that requires third-party studios to supply content that can be licensed by networks in the states.
The most interesting thing about this statement is there’s current evidence to support the claim. While other networks such as ABC chose to go behind a pay-wall online that requires users to have an existing cable or satellite subscription to watch content on non-traditional platforms, CBS went the opposite way by unveiling a subscription-based service that would propel their company into the new television age.
By paying $5 a month, subscribers gain access to all of CBS’s current and library content owned by the network, as well as the ability to watch programming live from a multitude of local affiliates – an issue that’s plagued cord-cutters for years. Of course, this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the ever-evolving face of television that includes a forthcoming subscription option from HBO that won’t require cable or satellite service, and an over-the-top option from Showtime.
So, is there some evidence pointing to Hasting’s prediction being on the money? It seems that way. But to put such a finite date on it may be a mistake. It’s hard to know if traditional broadcast television will ever truly be phased out, especially considering the popularity of NFL-type live programming has only grown in viewership as everything else has tumbled (and, actually, there are NFL restrictions when it comes to the CBS service mentioned above).
At the moment, it doesn’t appear Netflix has any interest in entering the live market like Amazon has by purchasing Twitch, but that doesn’t mean they never will. But, until they actually do, it does seem broadcast might have a longer lifespan than Hastings dared to predict last week. Of course, when it comes to scripted content such as Criminal Minds, Hannibal, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham and Arrow, it does seem Hastings may be on the ball concerning the distant media-filled future of viewership and content.
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