The Only Constant Now Is Growth

July 15, 2015

The OTT space is not only expanding in entrants, it is growing apace. We see that an increasing number of Canadians are cutting the cord; that six times as many Australians are using online video; and projections for market growth, always on the upswing, are now exceeding $50B by 2020.

Meanwhile, don’t think that the politicians aren’t taking notice! In a somewhat surprising move, Chicago has announced that it intends to charge a cloud tax, perhaps sharing in the bounties brought by an expanding user base…or possibly stifling that growth, depending on your perspective. Of course, Silicon Valley is not standing still; Netflix has promised to pass that tax on to the consumer, ensuring that its access to free cash is unencumbered.

With all the growth, it’s hardly surprising to see new offerings popping up – but what they are may come as more of a shock. The Providence Journal produced a nice piece identifying sites that carry classic entertainment, and it can hardly be long before specialty services start popping up everywhere. This is an extraordinary opportunity not only for the entrepreneur out there who wants to run an ‘All Dick Clark All the Time’ channel, but also for the owners of back catalogs that can be licensed in deals like the one HBO did with Amazon.

With all this said, don’t think there hasn’t been any backlash.. After Jim Dolan of Cablevision declared 20 – 25% of cable channels are on their last legs, Sling TV’s CEO nonetheless raised the specter of cable companies raising rates on broadband to protect their underlying Pay TV business. While there’s no obvious sign of that happening yet, there is no doubt that when you compare Comcast’s newly-announced Internet-only TV service Stream with its Pay TV service, there’s not a whole lot of actual cost savings to be found.

Additionally, one interesting trend hitting the streets is the rise of the Connected TV. Whether via a Smart TV with Internet built in or a regular box with a device hooked into it (Roku, Apple TV, etc.), Hulu at least reports that we are moving to the larger screen. This has huge implications, especially for companies who are still in scramble mode trying to solve for the tsunami of new mobile viewers; now we have to solve for the very smallest and the very largest screens. Truth be told, visibility across all consumption devices has ceased to be a luxury and has become table-stakes for services seeking to keep up with demand and grow their audiences.

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note the formal launch of Showtime, somewhat confusingly the name of the streaming-only service from Showtime. And also if we didn’t share one of our favorite stories of the week: Qantas is providing HBO shows to its travelers through a collaboration withFoxtel; those crazy-long trips to the Antipodes just got way more tempting. And if we didn’t leave you with this glorious news: WWE just became available in Italy.

Between Game of Thrones on the way and Roman Reigns in Rome, it’s time for that Summer vacation you’ve been promising yourself.