The future of streaming TV looks more and more like cable, but free

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of The more things change … department

There is no doubt that the streaming TV revolution has been a good thing. Competition from streaming has meant more options, for less money, and more programming flexibility than ever before. As a result, streaming customer satisfaction is consistently higher than traditional cable TV, and the lumber giants who have fought against evolution for years (sometimes denying that the cord cut even exists) have been forced to actually try a little harder if they want to keep TV subscribers.

Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And many of the issues that affected the traditional TV experience have made their way to streaming. For example, given that broadcasters (who were primarily responsible for the unsustainable cost of traditional cable TV) need to have their pound of flesh to meet investors’ needs for quarterly returns, the streaming service’s price hikes in. direct arrive quickly and furiously. And the more the industry tries to innovate, the more it finds itself retreading fairly familiar territory.

Case in point: To attract more users to its streaming platforms and hardware, Google is in talks with several companies to offer users free streaming TV channels, with ads:

Google has had talks with companies that distribute so-called FAST (free, ad-supported streaming TV) channels, according to several industry insiders. These channels look like traditional linear TV networks, with pauses Advertising and on-screen streaming channels could launch on Google TV as early as this fall, but the company could also wait to announce the initiative together with its smart TV partners in early 2022. ”

Some TV providers, like LG, have started to partner with services like Pluto TV. So when you get your new TV, and if you don’t have a cable, you get a viewing guide that a bit like a cable. Namely a bunch of channels that usually (usually) offer dated content loaded with ads. This is usually tied to on-demand options in the hope that you’ll make money for better content. As a result, the current trend in streaming is to offer users something that looks a lot like traditional cable:

“This approach reflects how TV makers like LG and Samsung have integrated free streaming channels into their platforms. For these TV makers, free channels have become an overnight success. Samsung broadcasts “billions of minutes” of linear programming through its TV Plus service every month, Sang Kim, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics, told Protocol last year.

The difference, of course, is that everything is free. The money comes from both advertising and collecting and selling access to your daily behavioral and visualization data, without notifying consumers or letting them opt out (see Vizio 2017 settlement with the FTC). Selling access to this data is so profitable that companies have made it clear that the income from the sale of televisions themselves has become almost secondary. As with most “smart” devices, this model often comes with tradeoffs, including the fact that little thought has been given to security and privacy. And as hardware makers, streaming companies, telecoms, and big tech platforms all try to fight for control of this data flow, I can foresee more than a few potholes and shenanigans. unforeseen.

It is still astonishing to see finally evolve a sector so stubbornly resistant to evolution and Try new things, although many of these new ideas sound more familiar than you might expect.

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Filed under: announcements, cable, data, streaming, tracking

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