HBO and CBS Just Blew Up TV

For your enlightenment: A pretty damn accurate look at what HBO and CBS just did to the TV business paradigm. Just by making themselves available by subscription on the web:

walking dead to me

Cool Hand Luke or The Walking Dead?

by Jason Anderson

HBO and CBS just blew up TV, or at least how we define it. Whether you’re just a happy viewer, an advertiser or you’re in the entertainment biz, it’s time to rethink what you know about TV.

This week HBO and CBS announced new video services available without pricey cable subscriptions or even a TV. While CBS and HBO are making entirely different plays to address audiences now online everywhere, these moves demand an answer to the $64,000 question: what is TV?

Is TV the big box in my living room? Does TV = content that’s good enough to be “on TV”? Does TV = shows made by “TV networks”? For that matter, what are we supposed to call a TV network that’s available live and on demand here, there and beyond?

And what about OTT? If you’ve heard much of anything about the TV business, you know the term OTT. Strictly speaking, OTT refers to any programming offered outside of a typical pay TV lineup (over-the-top). If you’re a “cord-shaver”, “cord-cutter”, or “cord-never”, OTT is your new best friend. But even OTT’s definition changes by the day. Netflix has been the OTT standard-bearer for years but now pay TV operators are adding Netflix to millions of set-top boxes and Netflix series spark just as much water cooler talk as anything on cable networks like HBO.

While we’re at it, what in the world constitues a pay TV lineup? If you pay for TV-like content from a number of different “channels” not offered by Comcast and friends, why wouldn’t we call that a pay TV package?