Thursday, January 03, 2013

More Reasons To Cut The Cord

There’s always a different feel to the first week of a New Year. A kind of laissez-faire ease. Some places are open, some are still closed for the holidays. Some people are working, others are stretching out the seasonal break. But nobody sweats it.

And there’s a palpable optimism in the air. Those who have made resolutions are kicking up the positive vibes as they “improve” themselves. And even the ones who haven’t listed any bad habits to lose or new goals to achieve seem buoyed by the realization that some around them are finally trying to be better people.

And like every first week of any month, there’s a whole ton of new stuff to watch on Netflix.

I’ve been a big fan of Netflix since it first appeared. And even though the Canadian library offered still languishes under the yoke of past rights agreements, it remains a far better deal than subscribing to any specialty movie channel.

Plus -- if you’re in the mood for some Cancon, it’s often easier to find Canadian titles on Netflix than the Cable offered options. What’s more, you can see what you want when you want rather than waiting for the hours between one and five a.m.

What’s more, Netflix has begun offering quality content Canadian networks would never consider making, let alone make with as clear an agenda of delivering quality at any cost.

This, for example, debuts next month…

…and debuts all 13 hours of the first season (two seasons have been ordered at a budget of $100 Million) on the same day for those who like what they see and want to continue viewing according to their schedule and not whichever one works for a broadcaster or its advertisers.

People, we have entered a world where HBO level programming is available without paying HBO level fees.

And similar content is either in development or will soon be available via set top boxes from Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft –- literally the new studios of the 21st Century.

Chip maker Intel will soon join the club, offering consumers the ability to subscribe to content per channel (no more bundles) and even to subscribe per show if the majority of a channel’s content isn’t to their taste.

And which of us doesn’t fall into that category?

Intel TV Logo - H 2012

Intel’s service also gives customers a “Cloud DVR”, allowing them to watch any TV show at any time, without the need to record, pause live or rewind shows in progress.

According to Intel, their system has the further potential to bring consumers live sports and TV schedules that match broadcast, something no other online service so far can.

Think of it as simultaneous-substitution for all.

Think of it as no longer paying for channels you never watch or having to buy an entire service for the one show you do want.

Realize it is the end of massive profits for Bell, Shaw, Rogers and other cable operators as well as the entire Canadian system of funding indigenous production.

And since none of them have ever shown any inclination to even attempt a project like “House of Cards” –- or much else that attracts a mass audience –- how big a loss will that really be?

Maybe instead of appearing before the CRTC to beg salvation for a failed and outmoded business model, perhaps its time for we industry players to lobby Parliament for financial rules that will make film investment a legitimate business again.

Maybe a business where the customer rules, not faceless and taste bereft bureaucrats or rapacious corporate monopolies.

1 comment:

Caroline Godin said...

Insightful post. Amazon, arguably the world's largest content seller, is also quietly piloting 6 comedy series and will make them available online for their Prime members to vote on and decide which should be made into series. No fees but the Prime membership. New business model. I think 2013 is going to be very interesting for us all.