Rain continues to fall from looming cloud TV storm that hopes to satisfy the growing number of cord-cutters.
Viacom’s kids channel Nickelodeon is the latest to join the ranks of programmers opting to add a cloud-delivered standalone service to its list of current delivery channels. Viacom has not set a price for the new Internet offering, which is scheduled for a February launch.
As the number of content providers adding their networks to cloud TV continues to mount, the distribution channels are beginning to overlap, which will be confusing to customers. On one hand, the likes of HBO and Showtime appear to be going direct, while others, such as the Scripps and Turner family of channels, are choosing to go through cloud service aggregators such as Sling TV. Each path has its own merits: Going direct allows subscribers to go à la carte, selecting only the channels they want, but subscribing to a service offers convenience, the ability to search through content, potentially better customer service, and possible cost savings.
Hedging its bets, Viacom has its feet in both areas, offering a standalone product as well as going through Internet-delivered Sony Vue. Nickelodeon is one of the networks that is scheduled to be offered to users of the Sony service when it launches publicly sometime later this year.
If each cloud-TV channel were to be priced at $5.99, purchasing four channels would put you over the $20 per month Sling TV fee. That said, with Sling TV, you may end up paying for networks that fall outside your interest, the major issue with the current cable and satellite plans. For the individual networks, it is far better business proposition to go it alone to keep all of their own subscriber usage data, while working through an aggregator does not offer the same level of user information. At the same time, those services that circumvent the aggregator route have to bear the expense of bandwidth and other infrastructure costs.
The cloud TV picture is bound to get increasingly opaque before it becomes user-friendly. Cable TV providers, led by Comcast, are in idle while the pioneers in the cloud TV world attempt to grab a greater market share. It would be fairly easy for the likes of Comcast, Cablevision, Cox, and Time Warner to respond by offering new tiers of lower-priced à la carte service to compete with Sling, Sony, and others. Ultimately, the cable TV powerhouses are also the major broadband high-speed ISPs, so these folks are in a no-lose game.
H/T Variety | Screengrab via Nickelodeon