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Impact of the Writers’ Strike on Online Video

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Several things have put Internet video in the limelight this year, and the latest is most assuredly the writers’ strike. According to a survey by the Wi-Fi Alliance and Kelton Research, 50% of TV viewers are either going online more often for entertainment since the strike or plan to do so. And why not? If you can’t get the content you want from the network broadcasters, there’s no shortage of video to watch on the Internet – from short clips, to movies, to full-length TV shows.

My question is: will increased online viewing in the wake of the strike throw more attention on growing bandwidth capacity needs for high-speed data applications? We’re not in a situation yet where we’re likely to see serious service degradation if a few more people turn to Hulu, but as Brian Santo points out, an event like the writers’ strike could get more people accustomed to watching video online, and that ultimately will put more pressure on operators to make sure their networks can accommodate the load.

One other note, I’ll be curious to see what VOD numbers look like for the time period covering the writers’ strike. Comcast put out a press release earlier this month stating that subscribers have watched more than one billion hours of on-demand content this year, with 100 views taking place every second. Will those numbers go up even further during the writers’ strike?

2 Responses

  1. I think that the bandwidth concerns are way overblown. The more scarce bandwidth gets, the more that business will be able to charge for high speed access, which translates into higher profits, which inevitable leads to more infrastructure investments and new competitors entering into the market. We may occasionally face short term shortages or temporary high prices, but in the long run, the invisible hand is remarkable efficient at making sure that supply can meet demand.

  2. [...] CE industry has exploded with on-demand services – from Vudu, to ABC content on the Xbox, to Amazon Unbox on TiVo, to iTunes on the Apple TV. [...]

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