War on TV Programming – How TV Services are Keeping Up
In the midst of a cord-cutting battle, it seems TV programming companies have been struggling to keep their heads above the water. Contrary to this speculation, cable companies have actually been able to come up with multiple ways to maintain their loyalty and, at least, hold up in combat.
Launching their own streaming service
Many traditional TV networks have threatened to launch their own streaming service, including Viacom. As the owner of Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon, Viacom announced the launching of their own streaming service by end of this year. The direct-to-consumer streaming service will be complete with more than enough content for viewers in the U.S.
Even Discovery seems to be getting their hands in the online streaming industry. No deadlines or prices have been released, but since their merger with Scripps, Discovery has definitely been playing around with the idea. Now with Scripps, the company operates and provides most of the top popular content for 22-25% of women in the U.S. A few of the channels include HGTV, Food Network, and TLC. If that doesn’t drive customers to a stand-alone service, Discovery’s well-known debut of ‘Shark Week’ will.
Offering exclusive packages
Besides offering an entirely new streaming service, many premium cable networks are just looking to compete with their add-on premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax. These in-demand channels typically receive their own apps and are even featured as add-ons to many cable services.
Owner of HBO, Time Warner, even takes a step ahead by offering their own streaming package with AT&T. Competing with DirecTV Now, the WatchTV Service is available for about $15 less; although, only half of the channels are available. The streaming service is free for those with two unlimited wireless phone plan subscriptions through AT&T. Current customers would just need to upgrade to AT&T’s latest plan to qualify for free WatchTV. Unfortunately, AT&T will no longer include HBO for free on all unlimited plans. An alternative though may be the more expensive of the two plans, starting at $80, which will offer one free premium video or music service, like HBO, Showtime, or Amazon Music Unlimited.
In an effort to bring more convenience to their customers, many cable companies and other TV services have developed apps to bring you your favorite shows wherever you go.
We already covered a bit of AT&T’s WatchTV service, but another massive live-streaming app is DirecTV Now. DirecTV saw this coming. They knew the demand for convenience and efficiency was ever-growing, so they took their service into their owns hands and made it mobile, just for you! With over 65 live channels, we doubt you’ll get bored.
No more satellite, no annual contract. It almost seems as though it’s just another online streaming service. Almost. Here, you’ll be able to stream breaking news, sports, live events, and thousands of on-demand titles starting at $40 a month. You’ll also have the ability to stop and rewind your favorites with their Cloud DVR. Add-ons for those premium channels is also available at a very low price: HBO for $5 a month and Showtime for $8 a month.
There’s no victory without allies, so bring out the contracts! I’m sure, by now, you’ve all heard about the merger of Disney with Fox and AT&T with Time Warner, but what do deals like this actually mean for TV and for you? Fox-owned movies like ‘Avatar’ and the ‘X-Men’ movies, and TV shows such as ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘This Is Us’ will now be shared with Disney. Disney also owns the cable networks FX and National Geographic which plays a large role in streaming services, like Hulu.
Disney understands which direction TV is heading, and this deal could set off a domino effect of mergers in the film business. “Everyone has decided that the future is owning both the content and the distribution,” said Craig Moffett, a longtime media analyst. Continuing even further to preserve their stake in the TV industry, Disney has announced the launch of their own streaming service to take place late next year. Not only will it include every Disney movie ever, but they’ll also release new content including a new Marvel show and Star Wars content.
Only time will tell if cable will continue on in the war against streaming services, but for now, they’re still in the game. Many are willing to pay just a little more to be able to watch their favorites shows, games, or news channels live and on-time. If that doesn’t carry TV services across the finish line, the contracts they have with producers and their shows will keep them going for the near future.