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The Future of Pay TV

Smart reporting on the shifting pay TV market by Mark Sullivan: “Pay TV as we know it will be dead by 2025, and this is how it will happen”

As streaming-only players like Netflix and Amazon enter the content space, the traditional production pipelines for TV shows are becoming less relevant. In the past, television writers, producers, and network suits followed the same rules and worked in concert. But now long-exclusive relationships are suddenly up for grabs.

“Everyone is taking meetings with everyone,” is a phrase you hear over and over when talking to people within the industry today.

Have the streaming content companies proved anything other than that they can outbid traditional networks for hot shows? Is there something about Internet TV that both consumers and the Hollywood establishment prefer over the scheduled TV we’re used to getting from broadcast and cable networks? The numbers seems to suggest so.

The beginning of the end for linear, scheduled TV will come when the Internet players have too many subscribers for the content rights holders to ignore, Lai says. When that happens—and it may happen more quickly than many people expect—the content owners will begin to break their exclusive content agreements with the pay TV carriers.

Content owners will continue to nervously restrict the ways TV content can be distributed and consumed—until it makes financial sense not to.

These changes are, of course, great news for Apple. Channels are becoming apps and apps require a platform. Apple TV will look much different and become much more widespread in the near future. This quite surprising to many observers, especially those who believe the traditional industries have exclusive access to content locked in.