Dan Rayburn, has written a provocative post titled: Streaming Video Can’t Scale At Cable TV Quality, Will Never Replace Traditional TV Distribution. Essentially he argues that there isn’t enough bandwidth for the large scale events. He’s only partly right.
Dan’s argument revolves around large scale events: those with 30 million or more viewers, and for those events he’s right. But his overall premise is wrong, because those type of events are now the exception, and generally only for the broadcast networks (carried on cable, for sure, but not originated for that medium).
His argument fails because:
Most shows, particularly on cable, have much smaller audiences. Ten or 15 years ago, a 20 million person audience would get a show cancelled, now it’s a major hit with those numbers. Most shows are 2-3 million through to six million audience;
Only sports and news (and perhaps some reality shows) need to be delivered to all the audience at once. By artificially pushing “streaming” as a “all watch it at once” problem, he makes his argument, but at the expense of accuracy. In the IP TV world, the audience watches when the audience wants, and not at some “appointment” time the broadcaster or cabler want to show it.
Streaming will never replace Cable TV? Not for the huge sporting events, but for drama, comedy, movies, etc, appointment television on a broadcaster or cabler is already dead. We’re just waiting for the corpse to smell badly enough to realize it.