Online TV Shows are trending towards a subscription only model

It has been fascinating watching the tentative forays of broadcast networks coming to grips with putting TV shows online.

Many Gen-Yers are taking the trend towards placing all TV content online for granted, and perhaps in the larger strategic sense it makes perfect sense for advertising industry and broadcasters to team up in order to take advantage of the Internets capacity to deliver more targeted advertising content. However, robust business models for incorporating profile driven advertising for TV shows do not really exist yet, and the jury is still out on if this translates into buyer behavior that would ultimately generate more revenue. In the meantime we are witnessing a retrenchment of sorts:

According to an article in the NY times today, AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Verizon are among the companies exploring a subscribers-only approach to online TV.

Broadcasters “went out and did deals to put content on broadband without a whole lot of thought about the long-term financial model,” said Jeffrey L. Bewkes, chief executive of Time Warner and a principal supporter of the new subscriber-only Web video plan. “If people aren’t subscribing to the programming, you probably shouldn’t put it online, because then half of the financial support goes away. That isn’t good. It hasn’t been good for the newspaper industry.”

Ingonish Gravestone at Sunset

Image by JB Photo via Flickr

While a younger web-savy generation is thinking about concepts like trading their google searches and twitter activity to advertisers, in exchange for fewer and more targeted ads, the mechanics for this do not exist yet, and the aggregation platforms (like HULU and Boxee) that could deliver such business models are viewed with deep suspicion by network executives.

A friend today reminded my that old business models are easily destroyed, and die far more quickly than new and successful ones are born.

  • Some Online Shows Could Go Subscription-Only (nytimes.com)
  • I’ve wondered about the business model of putting shows online. You do see commercials though – as a consumer I was hoping that would be enough. If they start subscription services they’d lose me. I watch so little television as it is and being able to watch what I want when I want to watch it on demand online has replaced much of my TV watching already.