Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Time Warner Cable-Disney Dispute, Apple's Reported $0.99 TV Rentals, Amazon's Subscription Service, and Sony's Efforts

I wonder if September 1, 2010, will be looked upon as the day in which we witnessed the beginning of the end for traditional pay-TV services. There is an interesting intersection of news today spanning the world of cable TV and Internet TV services, including Apple, Amazon, and Sony. The items:
  • Time Warner Cable and Disney are expected to officially announce a new retransmission agreement, preventing Disney programming (including ESPN) from going dark after today. Good thing - you'd have a ton of ticked-off customers wanting ESPN's colllege football coverage starting on Thursday night. Our hometown paper - The Dallas Morning News has a good piece on what the contentious negotiations might mean for consumers. My take is to expect higher cable bills. In recent days, we've been asked a number of times about the pain threshold for consumers as they consider what they're paying for a triple-play service. Our analysis shows that consumers are still finding high value in their pay-TV services, and efforts by operators to increase their video-on-demand and high-definition offerings certainly help. In this recessionary period, we have found that - as consumers moved more entertainment into the home - that cable TV service has been viewed as a lower-cost alternative to paying high movie ticket prices and the babysitter expenses. It will be interesting to see, however, if we start to reach a pain point for consumers in what they're paying each month.
  • Apple is expected to announce something today, and the speculation is rampant about new iPod models, a cloud-based iTunes service, an Apple TV remake, and the possibility of the availability of $0.99 TV show rentals.
  • Amazon is reported to be launching a subscription video service that could potentially challenge Netflix in streaming older movie titles.
  • Sony has launched Qriocity, a cloud-based movie and music service that feeds content into Sony's connected devices - TVs, Blu-ray players, and home theater systems

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