Online choices to increase pressure for lower pay TV costs
ONLINE VIEWING options will force the pay-TV industry to unbundle its channel choices within two years, television entrepreneur Robert Johnson said yesterday at the Allen Co media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Seventeen channels accounted for 85 per cent of cable television viewers. “Something’s got to give,” he said as he arrived at the resort.
Online services such as Hulu and Netflix, which did not force consumers to buy channels they do not watch, would put pressure on cable operators to offer individual networks at lower prices, Mr Johnson said.
Smaller channels may have to merge.
Surging prices for sports and other cable TV content are being passed along to consumers in higher monthly bills.
“They can’t keep passing on to consumers 10 per cent increases,” he added. “At some point consumers are going to say, ‘Enough is enough’.”
Mr Johnson (66) became the first black billionaire in the US and the first African American to list a company on the New York Stock Exchange.
He sold BET Holdings, named for Black Entertainment Television, the company he founded, to Viacom in 2001. “If you’ve got content, you’re in a great position,” Mr Johnson said.
Also speaking to media as he arrived at the conference, Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of mobile-payments start-up Square, said the company would expand and make its device available outside the US.
Mr Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter, was invited to speak on a panel about innovation at the Allen and Co media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
“I don’t know what I’ll be talking about exactly,” he told reporters as he unpacked his bags from his rental car as he arrived at the Sun Valley Resort yesterday.
“We’re having a lot of fun” at Square, he added. “We just keep building and we’re excited because we’re going outside the US soon.”
Square, based in San Francisco, is a maker of credit-card readers for tablets and smartphones and charges a fee of 2.75 per cent on every transaction.
Mr Dorsey and Mr Johnson were just two of the titans of both media and technology who have convened in Sun Valley, Idaho, for an exclusive annual conference sponsored by boutique investment firm Allen Co.
It will be the first time since the piracy debate went viral that top technology and entertainment executives will assemble en masse on neutral ground to discuss major issues affecting both industries. – (Bloomberg)