We Didn't Know How Hot the Summer of Multiscreen Would Be

BTR's Summer of Multiscreen is hot. Actually, just about everything is hot this summer. Really hot. We're approaching the midway point in our Summer of Multiscreen presentation. The bottom line, at this point, is that just saying that the emergence of mul...

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By Carl Weinschenk, Senior Editor

BTR's Summer of Multiscreen is hot. Actually, just about everything is hot this summer. Really hot.

We're approaching the midway point in our Summer of Multiscreen presentation. The bottom line, at this point, is that just saying that the emergence of multiscreen distribution will significantly change what cable operators do is an understatement. It's correct, but doesn't adequately convey the magnitude of the changes that are in store -- and are ongoing on a daily basis.

The easier to understand changes that are happening on the contractual level. There have been highly publicized dustups between programmers and cable operators on the extent to which content can be bounced around the house, the neighborhood and country before the programming owners' rights are violated.

Those aren't too hard to conceptualize, and the involved parties will sort it out. There is too much money on the table for them not to do so. As time passes, new business structures will emerge. It may be that the Netflixes, Amazons and others will act as aggregators and work out arrangements to combine their libraries, original programming -- such as the deal announced in March for actor Kevin Spacey and director David Fincher to produce a series called "House of Cards" -- with linear programming producers to create alternate networks.

While a great number of outcomes are possible, the essential landscape is clear: Cable has a powerful presence that is on the point of being threatened for the third time in a few decades. The first time was the birth of satellite TV. The second was telco TV. Now, IP-based providers are offering compelling products.

The cable industry still has great advantages in is local presence. It is inevitable, however, that the game will grow far less one-sided as shrewd newcomers fill in missing pieces. The number of cord cutters and cord "shredders" -- folks who downgrade but don't churn -- will grow.

The most complex level in the fight for the hearts, minds and eyeballs of the public is that of network infrastructure. The changes necessary to keep the OTT wolves at bay -- or the barbarians from the demarcation point -- are great. The bottom line is that the transition is all-encompassing. It touches on dozens of infrastructure elements, processes and partners.

One of the main goals for the Summer of Multiscreen is to define those changes, and we are seeking your help in doing so as accurately and comprehensively as possible. Please take a look at this graphic -- as well as the repository of multiscreen data we are creating. Please take a look at the last four paragraphs of this post for more details.

Carl Weinschenk is the Senior Editor for Broadband Technology Report. Contact him at carl@broadbandtechreport.com.

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