EC Who’ll Win America’s Streaming TV Battle?

Streaming TV: Winners and Losers From Almighty Media Battle

If you’re a Star Trek fan, CBS just made your day. It announced that it’s bringing back a Star Trek television series.

But there’s a catch…

In a sign of the changing times in the TV industry, the only way to see the new series will be to subscribe to CBS All Access – the company’s paid video streaming service that costs $5.99 a month.

As you may know, the video streaming market is huge – and growing. It certainly qualifies as a disruptive force, as it’s a direct threat to incumbent cable companies, with viewers increasingly “cutting the cord” on their cable programming.

At the same time, though, it’s also a huge opportunity for cable companies because many of them not only own the programming, they also provide the internet connections that enable streaming to reach homes. And nobody wants to cut that cord!

But as the streaming industry grows, it presents a challenge to other streaming companies, content producers, and consumers’ wallets.

The CBS announcement gives a glimpse into what it might mean…

CBS Fires Off Two Shots

Before blockbuster franchises like Harry Potter and TwilightStar Trek was the original franchise. Indeed, for a time in the 1990s, Star Trek was even called the franchise within Paramount Studios.

When Viacom Inc. (VIA) split up its company in 2014, the franchise split. Paramount kept the movie rights and has since produced two successful Star Trek films. CBS Television kept the TV rights, and it’s getting back in the game.

But CBS’ decision to only stream the new series is a direct shot at two parties:

  1. Cable Companies: Any high-profile programming that isn’t available on cable is a direct threat to cable. After all, if the shows you want to watch are increasingly available elsewhere, why give your money to a cable company, which you probably hate anyway?

  2. Netflix Inc. (NFLX): Netflix is the undisputed king of streaming, with over 42 million customers in the United States and nearly 26 million more around the world. The company pioneered the market as it exploded from a humble mail-order video rental service to today’s $47.4 billion-market cap behemoth. Netflix grew so fast partly because it was the only game in town for a long time. Not only for customers, but for programmers, too. If a producer wanted to have a show profit from the streaming trend, selling it to Netflix was by far the best way to do it.

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