A few years ago, there was a bit of a cold war going on between Netflix and the larger cable MSOs that flared up with that interconnection dispute between Level 3 and Comcast. That particular argument was resolved publicly a few months back, but now reports over the weekend have Netflix in negotiations with cable MSOs of a very different sort that suggests a rapidly shifting terrain.
Apparently, the OTT video poster child is in talks to get its application onto the set top boxes themselves. Why would cable operators be willing to give such access to a rival that they’ve argued in the past is mooching off the last mile connections they built with their bare hands?
Apparently, as Bloomberg argues, they now see having Netflix integrated as “a tool to attract and retain customers, rather than a threat that will lead to cord-cutting”. In fact, Netflix subscribers may be more willing to pay for those bigger, premium connections that cable operators are trying to sell. That seems to finally be putting the last mile’s value in the correct context – as the inevitable future driver of revenue rather than the video subscription itself.
In other words, hiliting OTT options for customers around might be a positive thing for business in a world where we just don’t consume video the way we did back in the 80s, and not a moocher at all. Could it be that as the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations await word from the courts, everyone else has broken out the hugs?
Ok, probably nothing quite so drastic. But the OTT question does seem to be evolving quite rapidly this year and I do think some battle lines are getting blurred.