A few weeks back I blogged about how streaming the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on my computer made me re-think the importance of cable and satellite TV. (Read that blog here.) Yesterday, Ben Patterson, a technology writer for Yahoo! News, wrote an article about just such a movement.

“Nearly 800,000 U.S. TV households ‘cut the cord,’ report says.”

This phenomenon is interesting enough to be newsworthy. But the brand implications are more far reaching.  What does this mean to the DIRECTTV, DISH Network, COMCAST, Time Warner or Cablevision brands? It is an earth shattering change.

We preach the importance of defining your brand, not by the process by which you deliver your product or service, but rather by the customer self-definition when they choose or use your brand. This means that what you deliver and how you deliver the brand is less important than  who the customer believes themselves to be when they use it.

For the broadcast industry of service providers (and I am purposefully including cable and satellite providers in this group because how I receive my entertainment and news is immaterial to me), this means they need to re-think their current business models in relation to their evolving brand (if they have a brand at all).

Who has the courage to look down this scary path? I’m not sure. None have called me yet and asked for help. Sure, it is a scary thought for them because it means they may have to give up half a loaf of bread today so that they might keep a full loaf later.

How will you know which one of these companies are willing to look at the market and adapt right now to these changes even if it means giving up some revenue in the short term? Easy. They will be the one survivor in a field of new providers five years from now.

Don’t believe me? Just remember that Blockbuster tried in vain to hold onto video rentals when the means by which we used the technology changed. They were in the prime position to own the new market of downloadable content, but they did not want to sacrifice their current revenue stream and the investment they had made in real estate.  I could go on and on. But will leave you with one last word. AOL.

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