Well, this is interesting: Over the past couple of days both HBO and CBS have announced different standalone streaming services that won’t require a cable bundle… and this is all right before a big Apple event in which the company may or may not talk about the future of its Apple TV set-top box. What is clear, however, is that over-the-top content is the future while pricey cable bundles are the past, and Apple and other big tech companies are likely going to lead the way with their own streaming services, set-top boxes and perhaps even television sets that will let you watch your favorite shows online.
What Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other companies are looking at right now is developing a video streaming ecosystem that resembles the current music streaming ecosystem where consumers can choose from services like Pandora, Spotify, Xbox Music, Beats Music, etc. to get all-you-can-eat on-demand streaming.
This is easier said than done, of course, because unlike with music labels, it seems video content providers would rather silo themselves off and charge each subscriber a separate monthly fee to use their services. So while you may rejoice at the idea of paying HBO every month if it means you don’t have to pay for an expensive cable bundle, you might feel less enthusiastic about it if you all of a sudden have to start paying tons of monthly subscription fees for every channel you watch — particularly network TV stations like CBS that you can watch for free over the air.
This is where Apple and other big tech companies come in. Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft with its Xbox entertainment console all have the scale and reach to really negotiate with content providers to get them to lower their rates and offer consumers online streaming options that won’t require paying a separate subscription every month to every single channel you want to watch.
We’re still in the early days of our brave new cord-cutting world and the ways that tech’s biggest players will try to rope in video content providers for their own streaming services will be one of the most interesting stories to follow over the next few years.