So this is how it’s going be. Just as a deal between Netflix and Comcast was announced to ensure Netflix viewers would get the most optimum streaming ability from the cable provider, now it looks like the same is happening with Apple TV.
This report says Comcast and Apple TV are in talks to team up for a streaming service that would get “special treatment” that avoids the Internet’s congestion. That is, at least on the surface, this is a similar deal to what Netflix is getting with Comcast, which Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently labeled, “a tax.”
We have wondered for years how the cable companies would react to streaming services (especially as networks – including those in sports, such as ESPN – enter the fray) taking hold with audiences. The movement foretold the incoming irrelevancy of cable companies. Pulling the plug has become an increasing way audiences have dealt with high cable bills.
Now, we know. Cable companies are going to become more of an ISP than a cable company and, in a way, charge streaming services some serious dough to make those services work. Basically, the cable companies (and Comcast will become the largest if its merger with Time Warner Cable goes through) are holding the services hostage.
I guess we should’ve all guessed that the cable companies were not going to give up without a fight. They have also been improving their own apps, with the availability of on-demand increasing, and allowing visitors to use individual content providers’ apps (such as FX, HBO and others) as long as they are subscribers.
The back-and-forth is not over yet. The ISP issue will be re-visited, either by other ISPs or the streaming services themselves. And we haven’t yet heard from the satellite providers, such as DirecTV.
To me, though, the cable companies could have made this road easier for themselves if they hadn’t been so arrogant in the first place. They have overcharged customers for years and have had protracted battles with content providers for space on their networks.
Cable companies have not felt friendly, which is why pulling the plug has been so popular – and greeted with so much glee. The next step is for the cable companies to perform some form of brand repair or the intense battle for customers will continue.