Is this the death of the networks and CableTV as we know it?

As CES winds up in Vegas this week, it will become clear that the ‘final 10 feet’ between the PC and the TV will finally be bridged. This will all be made possible via the simple inclusion of direct ethernet or wifi connectivity along with software allowing for our new TV’s to play compatible digital video such as flash, along with being able to ‘speak’ browser. No idea why it took manufacturers so long to do this but better late than never.

So what will this mean for the consumer, content creators, the networks, cable companies and the marketing services industry? You can almost guarantee that it will create more upheaval than we can possibly imagine.

For the consumer, long gone will the days be where they will need to navigate to a specific network to watch a show. As with PC’s, consumers will search via a browser like interface directly on their TV’s and the content will be served directly to them. The consumer will not care or be concerned about which networks serve the content. This will pretty much be the death of networks that do not own IP in the form of content or do not strike exclusive distribution deals directly with content creators. In order to save themselves the cable networks will need to consolidate or merge with the larger media industry or risk becoming dumb pipes that only serve as your ISP.

From the Daily Beast: Sharon Waxman writes: Hollywood is on the “cusp of a new chapter,” in which a smaller group of major entertainment companies, fortified by bigger libraries and deeper distribution channels, will hold a larger concentration of power. With Comcast set to acquire NBC-Universal and Time Warner and News Corp. fighting over MGM, power is being consolidated. Comcast, for example, will have the largest cable subscriber base in the country, plus control of a movie studio, a broadcast TV network, and several cable networks. The combined power of content and distribution, creates a new kind of player.

Either way, all content will be digitally served in an on-demand model and the opportunity for content creators and marketers to distribute directly to consumers via their TV is now a very real option.

On a personal note, I finally cut the cord with Time Warner in Manhattan simply based on the fact that I no longer watch appointment based TV. Between Netflix, Hulu and a few shows purchased via Apples iTunes I am pretty much covered – never having to watch another commercial again, while spending less than half of what I did with cable. Apple is also talking about a subscription based service. Others will do the same.

Net/Net…I would not want to be a network or cable company right now, but I would want to be a content creator or marketer.

Those of you that have followed this blog for a while will know that I have written about this before – in July of 2007: http://jaredhendler.posterous.com/iptv-is-finally-here).  So why repeat myself?…..become this is finally becoming a reality.

A few more articles relevant to this post that may be of interest are below.

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