Cable is no longer the powerhouse it once was, and the decline in subscribers to companies like DishTV and Comcast have proved just that. PayTV’s grip on the nation it once held in the palm of its hand is weakening, but is it close to death? Morgan Valentine Spurlock, an American documentary filmmaker, TV producer and creator/star of “Super Size Me,” doesn’t think so.
Spurlock sat down with VideoInk Founder Jocelyn Johnson and co-host Dermot McCormack on a new episode of “Over the Top” –sponsored by Axonista — to talk shop on the growing industry of digital media. During the interview the three touched on the wide-shared belief that traditional pay TV was on its last breath.
“Not for a while,” stated Spurlock. “I think that there are things that will continue to sound the death mill. Like ESPN. When they finally leave the box it will be a big [loss], but it’s not going to be dead for many, many, many years. There’s still money to be made there.”
Spurlock compared the perceived death of PayTV to the speculation that the film business was going to die at the time TV became popular over 60 years ago.
“The question isn’t when is it going to die,” McCormack chimed in. “It’s how is it going to evolve. I don’t think cable is dead, but I do think the business model will be challenged.”
And that change in business model is already slowly taking place in many companies. For example, Disney plans to roll out its own SVOD service and recently created an app that acts as a home for all its cable content; AT&T has two streaming services Fullscreen and DirecTV Now; and Comcast recently launched its own streaming service, but with a twist — it’s only available to Comcast internet subscribers. Still, these new avenues of revenue haven’t been as profitable as PayTV as DishTV is quickly learning with its streaming platform SlingTV. Despite selling well, the platform has not been able to make up for the heavy subscriber losses the satellite arm of the company has experienced.
“There’s still real money in TV,” Suprlock pointed out in the conversation. “There is still a real budget, they’re still paying a lot VS a lot of other digital players.”
Cable is evolving, it may not be the powerhouse it once was, but it’s still a big time player in the entertainment industry. And as long as studios and networks pay top dollar for content, it’s likely to stay a key player. Of course, with more OTT companies like YouTube and Hulu launching live TV services the landscape, to stay a key player won’t be easy.