On the drive home from work the other day, I listened to a fascinating story on NPR about television. It wasn’t about the best shows of 2012, or about content at all, really. It was about the way we watch television and, more specifically, about how we will watch television in the years to come.
But it’s TV. What’s left to change? We’ve already gone from antenna to cable and satellite. The viewing quality has greatly improved from analog to digital to HD to even 3D. And we have more and more channels, which for me is just more and more channels I don’t watch but have to pay for to get the five channels I actually like to watch. So what else can really change? Apparently everything.
Keith Richman, CEO of Break Media: “If you’re a channel that people pay for and they don’t know why, you have a very short lifespan.”
Let’s replace “channel” with, say, “GDS”. Hmmm. Makes one think doesn’t it? I am not saying that the GDS don’t provide value. They do—to both sides of the supply chain. But it’s time to take serious notice when an ever-growing component of their value proposition is, “Hey, we are the only game in town.” I am sure that was the same value proposition the networks were tossing around in the early days of cable.
Another guest was talking about how there will be free video, individual television shows for sale, and packages of channels. And that, “eventually, your TV may be smart enough to serve up only the things you want to watch when you want to watch them.”
Sounds like personalization to me! But the similarities between television programming distribution and airline distribution didn’t stop there. Mark Suster, a venture capitalist, had the most apropos comment to our airline distribution debate.
“When consumers have choice, and distribution opens up, these huge fat industries with big profit margins start to collapse and new players tend to emerge.”
Thank you, Mr. Suster. I know you were talking about television, but I think that particular quote will be more relevant to our airline distribution debate sooner than most of us think.
The reality is that we’ve entered the personalization age, be it television distribution or airline distribution. We can try to fight it, deny it, or simply stick our heads in the sand, but technology and innovation are—day-by-day—revolutionizing the way we do things… and no one can stop it.
Oh yeah, and regardless of the industry, those “huge fat” companies that are attempting to ignore or stand in the way of innovation will go by the wayside… probably sooner than they think.