The Industry

So Many OTT Choices

I get asked by clients all of the time about how long they should stay in the video business. Most small providers are losing money on video and most of them are becoming less wedded to sticking with the product. By now just about everybody is familiar with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime as alternatives to traditional cable TV. Additionally, there are now numerous skinny bundles like Playstation Vue, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and soon those will be joined by YouTube TV and a new unnamed service from Hulu. It’s becoming a lot easier for people with good household bandwidth to cut the cord. But there are a lot more alternatives that don’t get as much press as the above options, and today I’m going to take a look some of the other choices. A cord cutter can put together an amazing array of content with a little work. Many of these networks offer free trials.

FuboTV. This was launched in early 2015 and carried mainly soccer. But the service has expanded to a 70 channel line-up that includes popular networks and is heavy on sports. They offer a wide range of sports programming to include the Fox Sports channels, the Big 10 Network plus a lot of off-beat networks that carry things like rugby, the European golf tour, motorcycle racing and boxing. The service comes with free on-line DVR storage.

Layer3 TV. This company is taking a different approach to everybody else. They are offering large packages at cable company prices for those that like the big packages but don’t like cable company customer service. They are not available everywhere yet. They offer 200 channels of HD programming and a lot of 4K programming, a great settop box, a high-capacity DVR, and integration with most social media and the promise of great customer service.

Sundance Now. This is a service that offers indie films, award winning foreign films and independent documentaries.

Curiosity Stream. They offer a number of non-fiction documentaries, heavy on science, technology, history and nature.

BritBox. This service from BBC Worldwide carries over 2,000 hours of British TV.

Feeln. This is a service that specializes in ‘feel-good’ movies.

Jazz & Blues TV. This features music documentaries and concerts.

Rooster Teeth. This is service that is popular with millennials and that grew out of a popular series Red vs. Blue from YouTube.

FilmStruck. They carry the kind of films that were shown on Turner Classic Movies.

Shudder. The service carries a big library of horror films. Don’t expect the blockbuster classics, but they seem to have everything else.

Fandor. This has been described as the service for film majors. It includes indie films, classics, silent movies, foreign films, documentaries and shorts.

SeeSo. Contains uncensored standup comedy.

Other Pay Streaming Services. There are new ones being added all of the time, but not included above are Acorn TV, ConTV, DramaFever, RabbitTV, Vid Angel, VUDU, Warner Archive and TV Land.

Individual Channels. You can also buy individual channels like CBS ALL-Access, HBO Go, Showtime, Starz, and the CW Network.

Free Programming. There is a mountain of free content available. This includes sites like AOL ON, Break, CollegeHumor, Crackle, CW Seed, Funny or Die, Itenu, Internet Archive, Mohu One, My Damn Channel, PBS, PlutoTV, PopcornFlix, Red Bull TV, ShareDots, ShareTV, Shout!, Simpsons World, SnagFilms, South Park Studios,, TestTube, The Onion, Tubi TV,, VEVO, Viewster, Vimeo and Yamgo.

Free News. This includes 60 Minutes All Access, Bloomberg, C-SPAN, CBS News, and NBC News.

I think the bottom line is that your customers can put together some amazing package of programming as an alternative to traditional cable TV. A customer could use rabbit ears for local stations and for $50 – $70 per month could do Netflix and a number of the above OTT products and have a great tailored programming package. And it’s likely that the online choices will be increasing. I have several clients who have dropped cable TV and who are glad about it. I think the above puts the writing on the wall and every small cable company ought to at least add this as a topic of company conversation.

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