Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Showtime joins the streaming/on-demand era

We all know the future of TV is the streaming, on-demand, of what we want to see; and Showtime finally jumps into that same bandwagon... though it makes the same mistakes of others.

The transition from TV broadcasts to on-demand streaming is inevitable, as proved by the huge success of services like Netflix (which finally is about to arrive to Portugal) and I think it won't take long for every major network to offer its own app/service. Just yesterday we got FOX Play, but with it we also get the "mistakes" that we hope to see fixed sooner rather than later.

In the case of FOX Play (in Portugal), it's kind of awkward that the service is exclusively available for subscribers of a specific cable/fiber TV operator - which kind of defeats the entire purpose of having this kind of services. This is a mistake Showtime doesn't make - thankfully. As long as you have internet acess you can access the Showtime streaming broadcast or on-demand content... as long as you're in the US.

This is probably the worst mistake (and harder to fix) of this first generation of streaming services. It's completely nonsense to keep enforcing the idea of regional distribution. The internet is a global medium, people want access to the same content wherever they may be. It's stupid enough for people in some European countries not to be able to watch House of Cards on Netflix; it's even more stupid for people outside the US to not even have access to the page announcing the Showtime streaming service.

Anyway, things will still have to evolve a lot more. I can't imagine a future where people will be asked to pay $10/$11 for each "channel" they want to access, like it's happening right now. And TV networks and producers need only to look at what's happening in the music streaming area. People will gladly join a service like Spotify or Apple Music, that gives them a "all-you-can-eat" access to (mostly) "everything" they want to hear - and the same will need to happen for TV content.

The longer they fail to realize that, the longer they'll have to deal with people looking for "unofficial" sources of the content they want to watch.

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