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Viacom to Offer Online Streaming Option As More People Cut Cable

man watching tv

This seriously has to stop.  Every network cannot get into the business of starting their own streaming service.  Yes, a lot of people are ditching cable and turning to watching TV online.  But does everyone need their own streaming service?  I can’t envision a scenario where you’re getting essentially the same kind of service that you were with cable, at around the same price – but only getting it through the internet.  If you want to watch Game of Thrones, you need to subscribe to HBO in some way.  But if you also want to enjoy Netflix, you’ve got to join their service as well.  How is this improving the industry?

Viacom has been hinting at creating its own streaming service, for a while and now they’ve given us a launch date during their 2017 Q4 earnings call.  Their goal?  To have their own streaming service up and running by September 2018. Viacom CFO, Wade Davis had this to say:

“It’s going to be rolled out in the U.S., in terms of the amount of content that it’s going to have, it’s going to have tens of thousands of hours of content that cut across the library we have on a global basis. And it’s important to note one of the reasons that we are able to do this is that we’ve chosen to curtail the amount of content that we license into third-party B2C experiences.”

hulu

Details like pricing aren’t immediately apparent, but it’s clear that Viacom isn’t planning on producing a dedicated cord-cutting cable alternative.  What’s interesting is that Viacom isn’t going after the big live TV market at all.  Instead, they are trying to be more competitive with the likes of Hulu and Netflix.  Viacom believes that the only reason they’re able to launch their own service is that they’ve steered clear of licensing its content to other streaming services.

Reading between the lines, Viacom is very quietly outlining the worst-case scenario for cord-cutters in a Life After Cable. Content companies can make the most money by withholding their content from other services and launching their own bespoke package that you have to individually subscribe to, either directly through Viacom or as an add-on to your existing Sling or Hulu package.

directv now

With so many streaming services on the market now, how will we be able to get the TV that we want, and not break the bank in our attempt to do so?  That’s unclear at this point.  I did want to take this opportunity to share with you the streaming services that are available and the cost.

  • DirecTV Now – $35/month
  • Sling – $20/month
  • Hulu – $7.99/month
  • CBS All Access – $5.99/month
  • fuboTV – $39.99/month
  • Amazon Video – $8.99/month
  • Netflix – $7.99/month
  • HBO Now (for iPad) – $14.99/month
  • Sony PlayStation Vue – $29.99/month
  • YouTubeTV – $34.99/month

What’s interesting is that you have some “network” type offerings, like DirecTV Now, for example.  Which offers dozens of channels of live TV without having to install the satellite dish or running cables.  It’s all available to you online. Now $35 a month might seem like a lot of money, but in comparison to what you’re paying for cable, that’s really nothing.  But choosing whether or not to add something like Amazon Video or Netflix on top of the DirecTV Now subscription is where it starts to cost some serious cash.  I am excited to see what Viacom has to offer – in both programming and cost.

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