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Could the traditional model for TV ever become extinct? Could Internet video streaming services replace what we all know as “Live TV?” It’s unlikely that we’ll see this happen in our lifetime. However, the Internet is giving cable TV a run for its money. While the Internet TV revolution may benefit many of us TV buffs, how is it affecting networks and how are they responding?
Fighting Against the TV Transformation
Image via Flickr by joannapoe
Although we’ve recently seen major networks joining forces with Internet TV, it hasn’t always been so pretty. In 2010, ABC, CBS, and NBC all blocked Google TV from accessing their prime-time shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and “Parks and Recreation.”
The networks were worried that by providing customers with Internet access to hit shows, the economics that support the cable TV industry would suffer.
This year the video streaming company, Aero was taken to court by Fox, Univision and Tribune who all believed Aero was infringing on broadcasters’ copyrights. Said to have been retransmitting TV stations signals over the web for free, the networks were outraged when the judge ruled in Aero’s favor.
Not Such a Bad Thing for TV
Surprisingly, many networks are in favor of people watching TV online. Since companies like Netflix buy cancelled shows and longtime running series from major networks (ie: Greys Anatomy), they’re still reaping benefits.
Back in 2011, Netflix announced that their customers had watched four billion hours of streaming video in the first three months of the year. What do the Netflix statistics mean for TV networks? For one, it means that Netflix would be the most-watched cable television network…if Netflix was indeed a cable network of course.
It also means that with Netflix’s thousands of devoted users, they have many fans who want to continue watching the shows they’ve become hooked on. Take NBC’s “The Office,” for instance. Since Netflix is always behind one season, fans of the show would likely begin watching the current episodes on NBC in order to keep up with the current season. In essence, services like Netflix create new fans for networks.
Settling the Score
You’ll find that many powerhouse networks are supplying their viewers with video streaming of their own. In addition to partnering up with streaming companies like Hulu, Crackle, and Netflix, they’ve begun offering full-length episodes of popular shows on their websites. CBS, Fox, and ABC websites have been well received by fans for the convenience and user-friendly features. It can work to their advantage as it allows viewers to watch the shows they like at their convenience, making them more likely to keep up with the series. These networks also supply apps for mobile streaming available on tablets and smart phones.
Furthermore, HBO followed suit after shaking their heads at Netflix’ poor selection of HBO shows. HBO GO allows subscribers to access their extensive and up to date library online and with their app for smartphones and tablets. Missed an episode of “True Blood” or “Games of Thrones?” Not a problem. You can log into your free account (if you already subscribe to HBO) and catch up. Don’t have cable, therefore don’t have an HBO login? Hang in there, HBO Go may become available for non-cable subscribers in the future.
Ideally, Internet video streaming shouldn’t raise any issues. So long as these networks use it to their own benefit, their ratings won’t suffer. Hopefully we’ll continue seeing advancements in the world of online TV as it’s both convenient and fun.