The Netflix-LG announcement today is just one more sign of what’s coming in the video competition wars. As we head into CES, we can expect a lot more news of this type. Netflix is planning to stream movies directly into LG High-Definition television sets, bypassing any existing service providers with its video content, which includes thousands of movies and TV titles.
While telcos are moving as fast as they can — note the qualification there — to deliver video services, the current sellers of video content are going to stand still and watch their market disappear. Just as AT&T will try to exploit IPTV to make its U-verse service all-encompassing, consumer electronics makers and content distributors will capitalize on the ubiquity of the Internet to extend their reach as well.
The result is likely to be a much more fragmented video entertainment market than already exists today. Cable companies and telephone companies won’t be able to take for granted the appeal of their video-on-demand services, and they are going to have to work harder to sell all the extras and add-ons that many of them are developing now.
Services like the ones Netflix and LG are promising to offer will have greater appeal to a younger audience that glommed onto Netflix first and is already doing much of its video viewing over the Internet. Telcos and cablecos will have to work harder to convince the members of this crowd that they want to pay a major monthly fee and sign two-year contracts for services.