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Articles: techwatch: 2013 June

<< Previous: 2013 May | Back to Most Recent | Next: 2013 August >>

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Viacom Signs Deal with Amazon Prime
Tuesday, 2013 June 4 - 12:38 pm
I've always told my friends that if Comedy Central and ESPN were available over the Internet instead of exclusively on cable, that would be enough for me to ditch my cable subscription and "cut the cord".

I think we're getting there.

Viacom and Amazon today announced that a number of shows from Comedy Central (and Nickelodeon) will now be available on Amazon Prime. It strikes me that Amazon and Netflix have become the pioneer "networks" on a new broadcast medium: the Internet. Existing content providers will have to evolve to compete, just as the broadcast networks had to become cable networks in order to survive thirty years ago.

My prediction is that some time in the next couple of years, the ABC/Disney/ESPN empire will either partner with one of these outlets or create their own paid streaming service. CBS will follow next; NBC (owned by Comcast) and all the Time Warner-owned stations will come around last. Then we'll finally have an open television market where the cable companies don't have a stranglehold on the terms of distribution, and content providers can negotiate subscription prices directly with consumers. This is how a free market is supposed to work; what we have now is effectively a monopoly.

The rub, of course, is that cable companies are also Internet service providers, and may respond to this threat by jacking up Internet rates or metering the bandwidth available for competing video services. So the other part of the equation is that we need a more competitive Internet market, or municipal Internet providers.

Of course, stupid states like my own (North Carolina) have legislation to prohibit municipal Internet providers... in order to protect the anti-competitive market that exists today. Sigh. Can you imagine if Time Warner were your electricity provider? If they could, they'd charge you extra for electricity being used for your computer, if they knew you were using it to watch YouTube.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatchtelevision


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