In a Multichannel World, Pay TV Fought its Future in 2012

According to Variety, 2012 was more about what didn’t happen than what did happen when considering the intersection of TV and digital media. As the multichannel world continues “begging for disruption,” the cost of the “average pay-TV subscription has skyrocketed 68 percent over the past 10 years,” notes the article. It seems something will definitely have to give, “but despite the fragility of their delicate bond, programmers and distributors didn’t face any real challenge in 2012 from any of the expected upstarts hoping to gain rights to live TV and package it in more innovative ways.”

One possibly influential deal did materialize very early in 2012. On January 4, Comcast and Disney came to a 10-year, $20 billion agreement that indicates upcoming change and incorporation of the TV Everywhere notion, which allows for TV to be broadcast across users’ digital platforms.

But other than that, expected game-changers like Apple TV and business models or products that would inspire the feared “cord cutting” movement failed to significantly materialize in the past year.

While that market remained rather stagnant, the Video On Demand services began to expand and grow, “helping offset DVD declines and supporting a heretofore-barely existent aftermarket for serialized programming,” suggests the article. And as Redbox Instant by Verizon and other such companies launch, that industry will likely continue to expand and drum up healthy competition.

It seems that digital viewing methods might very well help traditional TV. “If anything, SVOD seemed more like a catalyst than a cannibal for on-air ratings given how Netflix was credited for boosting the audiences that came to new seasons of ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad,’ two AMC shows that gave viewers an opportunity to check in mid-run via full backlogs of episodes,” according to the article.