Real competition in the cable television industry is forcing change at long last. And we can thank the dawn of streaming content.
Time Warner Cable just axed the Ovation channel, and the cable giant threatens more channels may get trimmed in the coming months.
But Time Warner Cable warns subscribers in an online notice today that there’s no guarantee it will continue to carry several other channels whose contracts expire soon including mainstays such as E!, Lifetime, and Starz, and a bevy of international services ... Former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV also remains in danger, although it survived a possible year-end purge. Other channels Time Warner Cable identified as being under review include Encore, Music Choice, News 12, NHL Network, ShopNBC, Smithsonian HD, and Style Network.
Some of these threats could simply be public posturing. It's a safe bet more people watch E! than Ovation. It's still notable that channels could be in jeopardy of losing their cozy cable perches, something that seemed unthinkable a few years ago.
Another breaking development will surely put more pressure on existing cable companies.
Intel is developing a new home entertainment option where consumers can pay for only the networks they wish to watch.
For the first time, consumers will be able to subscribe to content per channel, unlike bundled cable services, and you may also be able to subscribe per show as well.
Consumers already can ditch cable and go for a variety of streaming options to fill their entertainment needs. Plus, streaming affords more control over what they see and how much they pay compared to existing cable services.
That's not to say the two systems are equal in every way, but the emergence of streaming options is forcing cable giants to shake up their "business as usual" approach.
Intel's new product, if successful, could dwarf's streaming's current impact on the home entertainment market.