It’s a football weekend, but something is missing. The usual deafening screams and chants have gone silent; the football viewing center in your street has been replaced by a grocery store. Not because people are no longer watching matches, but this is 2030 and no one needs Cable TV.
Yes, you read right. This is not an improbable scenario, as the media world is undergoing an organized disruption in the distribution of broadcast content and programmes globally. This time, it’s cable TV companies that are at the receiving end. Ironically, the Cable TV market brought about the end of the dominance of terrestrial free-to-air services in the late 2000s. Now, the wind of change has come knocking again, to claim yet another victim.
With the momentum being gained by video-on-demand (VoD) and social media platforms like Netflix and Facebook, ten years from now, you will no longer care if DStv changed its subscription model to pay-per-view, or if Startimes finally wrestled top European Leagues from MultiChoice (owners of DStv and Gotv), or offered top Nollywood movies. You will basically control what you watch. It’s happening already.
Cable TV market was structured to self-destruct
By its own doing, the pay-TV market in Nigeria has been structured to conquer itself and offer little competition to VoD service providers. Not that they do not offer quality content, rather by design, cable Tv cannot compete in the world of tomorrow.
Different factors play against their competitive edge. For example, they lack the financial firepower of tech–backed on–demand platforms. Investors in Tech backed content streaming platforms, have the patience required to invest in technology and distribution channels that will provide exponential value.
It is hard to compete with this type of capital.
Leading the pack of companies already making inroads into VoD are services like iRoko. Though they appear struggling to gain massive penetration, they have relied on a combination of online streaming and pay TV to build a war chest for the future. This is especially as the likes of Amazon and Hulu are yet to flood the Nigerian market with the same sort of aggression they used in the US and in Europe. Netflix has signified intent with a host of solid Nigerian content featured on its highly addictive platform.
By far, the biggest threat to Cable TV is online streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. The owners of these platforms spend billions of dollars annually investing on content creation and distribution and have reach across the world. All that is required is an internet modem to get into the privacy of your homes, offices or wherever you are.