retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Yesterday, we reported in this space that HBO had announced that beginning in 2015, it will make its programming available via a stand-alone, web-based service, allowing even those without cable television or an HBO package to see its shows. There are 80 million homes in the US that do not get HBO programming, and the move is seen as a potential financial bonanza for the company, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue.

That sound you hear, we said, is that of the walls tumbling down.

It did not take long for the next brick to fall. CBS said yesterday, the New York Times reports, that it will launch "a new subscription Internet streaming service … that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription."

And here's the line from the Times story that really matters:

"The moves by CBS and HBO signal the arrival of a new age of web-delivered television, where viewers have more options to pay only for the networks or programs they want to watch — and to decide how, when and where to watch them."

Expect more broadcast and cable networks to follow. (CBS owns Showtime, so it'll probably be next.)

The big lesson - that the balance of power in almost all cases has shifted to consumers … and marketing entities are upending even the most traditional ways in which they do business to cater to these changing consumer dynamics.

And the secondary lesson, in my opinion, is the fact that with the exception of the people who own cable companies absolutely no one is going to mourn the fact that they essentially are being disintermediated right out of business.

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: