CES has started, so expect to see a flurry of these types of announcements during the week. The first noteworthy one is that Microsoft has secured some significant content licensing deals from MGM, ABC, and Disney. Microsoft will make more than 500 hours of ABC and Disney content available to Xbox Live users, in both standard definition and high definition. Some of the most popular content around will be available, including ABC’s Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives and Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana and High School Musical. Many of the television programs will not be available until after the day they air on television. Microsoft says when this new content is added to its existing library, its 10 million Xbox Live subscribers will have access to 3,500 hours of on demand content. This development contributes to the trend of premium content availability outside of the traditional pay subscription TV model.
Makes you wonder how consumers will begin to interact with these broadband based on demand content offerings. Are we approaching a tipping point where some consumers begin to say there is enough content available through these types of sources that I no longer need a cable/DBS/IPTV subscription? I suspect that current triple play providers may be most vulnerable to this possibility with the population represented by Xbox Live subscribers. Young, engaged, and technically savvy. We may soon see this demographic leading the charge away from traditional video providers, much the same way they led the charge away from traditional telecom providers using wireless as their substitution method of choice. Is video next? Stay tuned.