The cable industry is rapidly becoming an extremely complex and competitive world where new technologies such as high dynamic range (HDR) and 4K are coming to market and OTT providers increasingly target viewers on tablets, smartphones and other platforms. And uncertainty regarding potential regulation looms as the FCC tries to address a market that has expanded far beyond traditional video providers and networks.
There is clear battle brewing between the wireless industry and the cable industry. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and the rest of the nation's top wireless carriers are increasingly developing products and services that stand as a direct challenge to cable operators like Comcast and Charter Communications. Such actions are doubtlessly causing headaches in the cable industry.
The market of subscription video-on-demand services grew even more crowded in the first quarter with three significant product launches. NBCUniversal introduced its $4-a-month Seeso, Sony expanded its PlayStation Vue offering, and Starz trotted out a standalone OTT service a few weeks ago. Even more new offerings are expected to come to market in the second and third quarters.
T-Mobile urged the FCC to reconsider several key provisions and practices regarding video distribution, saying they're unfair to players looking to deliver content on devices other than traditional TVs.
Verizon and Hearst are expanding further into digital content and advertising with the joint acquisition of Complex Media, an online publisher that targets young males.
Verizon continued its aggressive expansion into media with the announcement that it will buy a 24.5 percent stake in AwesomenessTV, a digital video company owned by DreamWorks Animation that targets teens and preteens. The deal values AwesomenessTV at $650 million.
Twitter won the rights to stream NFL Thursday night games online, beating out Verizon, Amazon and others that were bidding for the rights.
Facebook said it doesn't degrade the quality of its video for specific mobile network operators, unlike Netflix. But whether Amazon or YouTube do is still uncertain.
Netflix's policy of degrading content for mobile carriers that charge their customers extra for data overages is controversial, but it doesn't violate net neutrality laws, according to FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly. But it may be cause for a federal investigation.
Netflix degrades the quality of the video it makes available to AT&T and Verizon, The Wall Street Journal confirmed, but doesn't do the same for T-Mobile and Verizon.