TV and movie viewing habits are changing. Cable and satellite companies have targeting, and catering to, consumers with high-definition big screen TVs. Now, it’s time to deal with smaller screens. 41% of mobile device users say they watch videos on their phone, according to Business Insider. That’s up from 20% in 2012. Tablet users are beginning to mirror their home TV watching on their devices.
Services like Netflix and Hulu have already made their way into the mobile market. Consumers want choices. They want to be able to watch their favorite shows at home on their HD TVs as well as on their smartphone or tablet. Giving them this seamless capability is the goal of streaming digital services. The arena is competitive and it is heating up.
You Can Take It With You – Hulu is seeing a growth in subscriptions (and their competition with cable companies) by producing their own programs, IT World online reports. Previously just portals to existing TV and movie content, services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon are creating their own unique content.
This blurs the distinction between TV and streaming Internet content. But that goes both ways, as cable providers are branching into mobile themselves. According to Cable-tv, cable and satellite providers are also offering mobile content via smartphone apps.
Briefly reviewed on The Verge, DirecTV Voice is a mobile app being released shortly in beta. This app lets the smartphone or tablet user search the DirecTV database for content, schedule it to be recorded, or start it playing either on the mobile device or big screen. Here, they hope, is the seamless content viewing consumers want. A person could start watching CNN on their HD TV at home and takes it with them on their smartphone to the office.
Where To Start – If a person can get cable TV content on their mobile devices and streaming Internet content on their HD TVs, where does one start? A Business Insider review of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video rate them very close in features. Their streaming content is available on iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Blu-Ray players and Smart TVs.
As the consumer use of mobile devices to watch TV shows and movies grows, cable companies will be pushed to deliver more features to compete. A big hurdle for these companies will be price. At $7.99 a month for Netflix and $79 a year for Amazon Prime, which includes streaming content, cable services will need to come up with more value for their $100 plus monthly charge.
Everyone Can Watch What They Want – Imagine mom and dad, son and daughter at home in the evening, all wanting to watch something different at the same time. If you had an HD TV in the living room, family room and in each of the two kids’ rooms, how much will it cost to watch different programs on each screen with the cable TV provider? When decoder boxes are factored in, it can be a ton of money.
Mobile Magazine reports that Netflix is ready to release a four-stream subscription option for $11.99 a month. Add a $25 cable from eBay for everyone to connect their tablet or smartphone to their HD TVs, and the problem is solved, cheaply. This is one area where the streaming Internet providers have flexibility over the cable TV companies.
Cable TV To Go, Please – If a person doesn’t have cable TV, they can go directly to the source. HBO offers all of their program content on their website, HBO Go. Subscribers log in with their account information and watch what they want. They can even watch it on their favorite mobile device.
What if someone shares their account information with other family members or friends? That doesn’t seem to be a problem, according to a Business Insider report on HBO Go. HBO realizes that it’s tough knowing who is really logged into the their service. But they do know that people are watching their programs. One possibility is that once they’ve reached a point of market saturation, they change their policy and offer online subscriptions to those people who can’t do without their programming.
A War Where the Consumer Wins – The competition to win over the consumer with their mobile viewing habits will result in more apps, more options and features, and probably better pricing. People are watching the various players to see what innovations come out of the battle. This is not an area where revamped features will excite consumers. It will be the new, never-before-tried concepts that will draw in the mobile consumers.