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Streaming services may rescue the Pay TV market in North America

Lucas Mearian | April 16, 2014
They're being used to attract younger subscribers

Brannon believes Strategy Analysis is seeing an uptick because several digital TV providers have had a banner year, but that's not necessarily indicative of a long-term trend.

"I believe it's the fact that cable providers have woken up to fact that two-year buy-in contracts are a significant deterrent for people. When service levels are comparable between IPTV and cable — and cost is relatively comparative... really IPTV is going to win every time. It's the new kid on the block," Brannon said.

Brannon said IHS Q4 2013 figures had the pay TV market losing about 500,000 subscribers last year.

One trend Brannon doesn't see going away is the bait and switch strategy of many pay TV services.

While they've become very aggressive in bundling services, reducing pricing and even eliminating two-year contracts, prices may go up while no one is looking.

"Cable operators allow you to come onto their service and hop off as you see fit," Brannon said. "Their dirty little secret is to raise rates over time. Their ultimate angle is they hope you'll be hopping on long enough to forget you're on promotional pricing and you won't check your bill over time when the price goes back up."

Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

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