Love is in the air: Pay TV consolidation hints at an OTT future

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It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air.

Comcast has expressed its love for Time Warner Cable. With 45 billion reasons.

There’s a lot of love going on in the video content delivery business. Brightcove loves Unicorn. Ericsson loves Azuki. Verizon loves upLynk. And EdgeCast OnCue broke up with Intel but then quickly fell in love with Verizon.

And behind the scenes, Apple is quietly, but forcefully,expressing its love for fiber.

What’s this all about? Is it an early spring?

Well, it turns out that all this love is hiding a somewhat more sinister underbelly. If video delivery companies were people on an island, it would be hard to avoid an episode of Survivor, as everyone chose teams to survive. Consolidation is a loveless word, and competition even less. But when survival is at stake, people make bold moves, and actions speak louder than words.

If video delivery companies were people on an island, it would be hard to avoid an episode of Survivor, as everyone chose teams to survive.

Trying to understand motivations is where this love story turns into a more complicated schoolyard scene.

According to gigaom, Verizon is worried about Comcast, so they’ve paired up with upLynk and Edgecast to power live streaming for themselves and as a one-stop-shop for third-party video providers. In fact, they put their online video guy (Redbox Instant’s Shawn Strickland) in charge of the whole TV business, signaling a move away from the limiting physical footprints of cable and towards a future of – wait for it – “over the top” TV. Verizon said this about their purchase of Intel’s assets:

“the transaction will accelerate the availability of next-generation video services, both integrated with Verizon FiOS fiber-optic networks and delivered “over the top” to any device.”

To cable and telco, “Over the top” used to mean the enemy – an enemy that didn’t play by the geographical rules. But things are changing, and never so evident as with Comcast’s (pending) purchase of Time Warner.

What’s going on? In a word, video. Specifically, adaptive streaming video, delivered to any device, supported by targeted ad insertion. These are big players in the schoolyard, and they’re showing their love for all technology that will help them deliver TV – profitably – to any device, over anyone’s network.

Who will fall in love next?

MichaelLove is in the air: Pay TV consolidation hints at an OTT future

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