In a Classic Defensive Move Broadcasters Are Adding Web TV

Posted: June 17, 2010 in Readiness & Strategy
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Many broadcasters and other entertainment providers are adding Web TV to their service offerings. The most recent in Canada is Videotron, the TV and cable arm of media giant Quebecor. The aim is to provide Web TV viewing as a viable option for viewers, mostly younger ones.

This is a classic defensive move, one designed to preserve audience share while maintaining a foothold in a potentially new market. In other words, they aren’t doing it because they see a lot of potential in Web TV, but rather because they are concerned that if they don’t a have a presence there, it could eventually erode their revenues and profits in more traditional media, such as cable. The major threat, as they see it, is pirated content currently available on the web. If they don’t this service, they feel that yound viewers will go to alternate means on the web to see their favourite shows. As the father of two teenage daughters, I can vouch for the fact that they hardly watch any TV, but seem to get all the big shows on the web.

I see nothing wrong with this. In fact, I think it’s a good way to defend their existing position while reducing risk to a manageable level in another. However, at some point in the near future, Videotron and other content providers are going to have to go on the offensive again. This is because they can’t hope to win long term by staying on the defensive. As it’s taught in military strategy, victory only comes through offense, not defense.

This will mean finding a way to offer more value, either through existing vectors, such as cable TV, or through a full-scale adoption of the web as a distribution means.

This column is called Never Fight Fair. My aim is to provide a distillation of military strategy and wisdom that is relevant to business strategy and leadership.

© 2010 Richard Martin. Quotes and reproduction are permitted with proper attribution.

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