We’re now at our third Executive Vlog by Irwin Podhajser, our IVP of Media and Network Partnerships, and we’re finally ready to discuss the direct relationship between OTT and OTA television. However, not all of it can be easily covered in one episode. This discussion will continue over the next several weeks.
Podhajser ended up predicting the resurgence of antenna purchases by the average consumer. “I went around to everyone saying over the air, it’s going to make a comeback now,” started Podhajser. “This was when Cable still had 90% penetration. People would laugh me out of the room when I said people are going to start buying antennas. Well, two years later, when antenna sales were reaching a couple of million a year, no one was laughing and everyone was knocking on [my] door.”
Podhajser claimed described cord cutting as “people saying, ‘I’m tired of paying 100 and something dollars a month for television. I’m going to cut the cord, put up an antenna and watch all these channels for free.’” And that’s exactly what they did. In fact, this shift happened even before streaming emerged. People, knowing they could get OTA for free, decided to ditch their cable bill for a cheaper option.
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The relationship between OTT and OTA continued to grow stronger with streaming, however. “You have two trends that have started to happen in the last twelve years that [have] been pushing cord cutting,” continued Podhajser. “You have people cutting the cord and putting up antennas, but you also have people cutting the cord and going straight to streaming.”
With the emergence of cord-nevers, new generations of households that have never owned cable, it’s more important than ever to take both OTT and OTA into consideration for your TV business. “This is important because, if you want to make the trend your friend, you don’t just make one your friend. You try to make both these trends your friend,” states Podhajser.
“You don’t want to be just totally reliant on over the air as your trend,” he starts. “And you don’t want to be only reliant on streaming as your trend. You want to take advantage of making both of these trends your friend.” And that’s exactly what FreeCast did to preserve the relationship between OTT and OTA.
“What do people in the OTA world miss about cable? They miss a guide,” starts Podhajser. “They miss on demand. They miss a lot of the things that SelectTV brings to the table. What do people that go streaming-only miss? Well, they miss their localism. They miss their local news. They miss, you know, the big four ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS.”
Speaking of the big four, Podhajser says they continue to bring in the highest TV ratings, despite the existence of thousands of other channels. If consumers cannot find access to these big four, they get a “fear of missing out.”
The Importance of Localism Between OTT and OTA
“If you are not connected with the OTA world in your services, if you’re not connected to localism in some way into your services, you’re missing a huge chunk of what people want. So we in SelectTV and the OTT world need to understand that. Not only is over-the-air, not going away, it’s going through a revolution,” says Podhajser.
The impact of companies, especially big, well-established powerhouses in the industry, ignoring these forthcoming trends could be devastating. The first step to growth in the television industry is acknowledging the importance of the relationship between OTT and OTA. After all, Podhajser admits “in almost any business of people not seeing the trends and just holding on to the way they’ve always done things, [the] giants die. And then some little company you never thought would succeed, becomes the powerhouse.”
Podhajser ends with one more comment, trying FreeCast’s goals into the bigger picture: “Here at FreeCast, we’re visionaries. We believe in looking at the trends and making our decisions, not necessarily on our gut [and] not necessarily just because we like something . . . If you know where things are headed, you can be there when they arrive.”
FreeCast is a leader in media super aggregation, and a source for emerging news and analyses in the OTT and OTA streaming industries. Follow us on LinkedIn to get updates for each new Executive Vlog and other important articles, released weekly.