Yesterday Dish announced that it is finally considering an offering for Over-the-top (OTT) content. OTT “refers to delivery of video, audio and other media over the Internet without a multiple system operator being involved in the control or distribution of the content.” This means that those of us who have no intention of signing up for a cable/satellite service will finally have an option to pay for content we want to watch. The plan is to have online streaming over existing broadband infrastructure with stations such as ESPN and Disney. And it might happen faster than we thought.
Here’s what was interesting in the announcement: a comment made by Adam Lowy, Dish’s GM of Interactive and Advanced TV, echos what Jeffrey Katzenberg said last week at Google’s Doubleclick event. Mr. Katzenberg said “Ultimately, consumers will get what they want” when discussing video streaming. Mr. Lowy said: “the consumer is gonna win out in the end.”
Mr. Lowy seems to say this with some resignation, as if Dish was capitulating to customer demand against its will. While that may be true, I do believe there is a benefit in offering consumers what they want and I hope that Dish will profit from this new offering. Their profit will make companies recognize that there is value in offering an OTT product. And maybe, just maybe, the media companies will begin to see the value of offering consumers a product they want to pay for.
Finally, I wish this was happening faster. I’d love to pay ESPN to watch the World Cup online. When ESPN says “For the first time ever, all 64 matches of the World Cup will be live on all digital platforms including WatchESPN & ESPN3” What they really mean is that “these online services are only available for those who already have cable and pay for access to the network.”
Seriously ESPN, what’s the bloody point?