Earlier this week we witnessed and end to one experiment in video programming, with the sale of Al Gore’s CurrentTV to the Al Jazeera Network. Never one to mince words my boss Eric Hippeau had this to say:
Al Gore’s Current TV picked the pockets of unsuspecting cable subscribers, now shoving Al Jazeera down their throat nyti.ms/TA2UJm
— Eric Hippeau (@erichippeau) January 4, 2013
Following an interesting wrap-up by Brian Stelter published today, I too felt compelled to put my thoughts down—though I’m not blessed with Eric’s gift for brevity.
This is what slow contraction of a business model looks like. More folks consume video content outside the cable biz’ handcuffs everyday. Folks in my generation especially (arguably THE cable generation) don’t see the need for it, when apps and the internet offer more depth and breadth than even cable could. Remember, increased choice and flexibility was the competitive advantage of cable 20 years ago.
For me, and I think a lot of “us,” cable providers still have a lot of power — they control the last mile of the biggest data pipe into my home. I’m OK with that, but they should take a lesson from the decline of portals and bet on big innovations now, rather than face a predictable decline as alternatives become available.
The future is uncertain, but I’d bet my iPhone that the next cycle of decline and innovation, the one that will outmode cable-style channel packages, will happen faster than the one that outmoded portals.