Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Fox threaten to go Subscriber only. Online re-broadcasting is causing problems (IPTV).



Fox, that great bastion of free right wing media (actually, I watch it a lot so I mean that tongue-in-cheek) are threatening to come off "free to air" and to move towards cable or pay-per-view.

In other words, just be available to subscribers.

And the reason? Online IPTV re-broadcasters (in this case 'Aereo' in particular) whom are offering live Fox and CBS and ABC and others online for free. They're simply, re-sending the TV signals online for a small fee. And the courts have upheld their right to do so. It would seem that these re-broadcasters have set themselves up exactly within the limits of existing laws.

So no need for an antenna or set-top box, you can now see Fox online through Aereo and that's what's bothering Fox. Aereo also allows you to record programmes in the cloud and of course, is available on multi-platforms to watch "as you go".

It means that traditional TV Companies are now losing control of their signal, their content and ultimately, their advertising. So if Fox became subscriber only, it would starve IPTV such as Aereo, of content. But then too, it would lose its advertising revenue because numbers of viewers would dramatically reduce.

It would also cause problems for affiliates of Fox (such as Sky) who may no longer get access to that content either. 

IPTV is a threat to broadcasters - of that, there's no doubt.
However, one wonders why they don't join the party and develop their own IPTV strategy? In other words, come together as an online brand and compete.

So many times, we've seen online destroy businesses who sat back and depended on legal action rather than, get into the space and fight. This to me, looks like another example.

Feels a bit like a Fox episode of The Simpsons.