Cord-cutting and the Future of TV

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There is a broadcast enigma:

U.S. homes with traditional TVs has declined, from 115.9 million to 114.7 million; however, total TV viewing is up thanks to streaming video via computer and mobile devices (source: Nielsen).

Cable is struggling and cord cutting is one of the results of the nation’s economic downturn, and more people are turning to á la carte content options to customize their entertainment. So what do these look like? Some who have cut the cord use combos of Boxee Box, Roku/Netflix, and Apple TV, while others simply use new devices like Samsung Smart TV’s which are equipped with Internet browsing and apps like Netflix, YouTube and ESPN.

Looking at this moment in broadcast media, it is similar to the progression of mobile, when the web was turning into the “Splinternet,” a term used to describe the decentralization of the Internet defined by apps and different operating systems. Now, things are moving towards a ubiquitous web experience, with many brands building mobile web apps in standards, replicating the functionality of native apps.

How can broadcasters do this? Well, that remains to be seen. First, cable packages can change their pricing structure, giving consumers the right to cherry pick their networks, that way people pay less, for less. This allows them to charge a higher premium for better targeted advertising. Second, the convergence of media is almost inevitable. Like Google buying Motorola, TV companies and cable/Internet providers could come together to produce a seamless, all-encompassing product. I’m excited to see how this plays out over the next five years.