An internet television revolution is sweeping across America! HBO will finally begin selling a standalone streaming service next year. CBS just launched an internet service of its own, allowing access to all of its shows—like Big Bang Theory and CSI, but not NFL games—on the web. Some pundits believe the cable industry is on its last legs. Or at least that the cable bundle, which forces people to pay for lots of channels they don’t ever watch, is dying.
Well, yes and no.
Take the new CBS service. As RBC Capital Markets explained this morning: “We don’t think there will be huge demand for this product on a standalone basis, but that’s probably not the point.” The point, it argues, is enabling CBS to get more in “retransmission” and digital fees, which are paid by cable companies (and telecom/satellite pay TV operators) to broadcasters for the rights to carry channels in their packages (and their own “TV everywhere” offerings).