When Consumers Win, Startups Flourish: What Can We Learn From the Streaming Revolution?

Any casual observer of companies like Netflix and Hulu understands that streaming is both the present and the future of media consumption. What started with YouTube has sparked an evolution in network television.  

First, YouTube allowed for anyone to create a channel and a distribution network. Then, Netflix started giving new life to old series and reruns. Now, Netflix is creating their own, original series, which have racked up more than 90 film and television awards; including Emmy’s, Golden Globes and Peabody’s. 

The next iteration of on-demand streaming will be live streaming. Many channels already offer streams of their content online, locked behind paywalls. But, according to some reports about startups like VidGo, that’s about to change. “In early 2016…VidGo launched a service that offers more channels than Sling TV for live streaming of network television…including sports.”  

This represents a massive shift, considering that the main thing holding back some potential cord-cutters was access to live broadcast news coverage and sporting events. The entire streaming evolution is proof positive that when consumers win, startups flourish. 

Let’s dive into a few of the startups and recent expansions of streaming services that are fighting to improve customer satisfaction and cut media costs. 

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1. Traditional Cable Providers 

For companies looking to gain or maintain market share, there are few things that are more beneficial than enhancing an already popular service. Time Warner Cable now offers TWC TV, Comcast has launched XFINITY TV Go, and Cox Cable offers Contour. These apps and web-based platforms are designed to give their subscribers access to the content they’re paying for from anywhere on any device. 

The evolution provides support for multiple devices (mobile, tablet, laptop and computer). In Cox’s case, Contour even supports users treating their iPad as an enhanced TV remote. This may help slow the growing 8.2 percent of cable subscribers that became cord-cutters in 2014, but there will always be those looking to cut costs without sacrificing the limited programming that they enjoy. 

2. Sling TV (Subsidiary of DishTV

CNET offers an in-depth review of Sling TV, the first of its kind subscription streaming TV service launched in February of 2015. It’s great for cord-cutters and offers a compelling channel line-up, but it’s missing some core features: recording, pause / rewind, and limited simultaneous streams (only one person can use a subscription at a time). 

There’s an opportunity in the market for a service that can provide more features; additional channels, DVR functionality and simultaneous streaming for households. But, this $20 option really gives cable a compelling challenge. Consumers took note. Last year, Dish TV increased their revenue by $1.44 million in the category of the quarterly report that includes Sling TV. The companies that evolve the fastest are going to capture millennial dollars; you know, the people described as “never-corders” in the industry.  

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3. VidGo (Launching This Year) 

VidGo was unveiled at CES 2016; a trade show where upcoming tech is unveiled for public feedback and scrutiny. Because it hasn’t been fully unveiled, there are still many unknowns. But, for those passionate about ditching traditional cable and finding an economical alternative, VidGo might offer the most promise. Plans will likely start around $20 (similar to Sling TV), but additional channel packs can be purchased. Overall, there’s a larger variety of content on VidGo’s platform, especially when compared to existing services competing in the space. 

The most comprehensive collection of confirmed rumors circulating about the service can be found in this VidGo review from NewTechnologyTV.com. The on-demand content should be especially interesting to current Sling TV users. But, bar none, the most exciting feature is a cloud-DVR that will hold recorded video for 30 days. That makes VidGo the first platform to support a native DVR application across platforms.  

Yes, it is possible to live without a traditional cable television plan, thanks to innovative startups around the globe. The lessons from this shift in consumer preference should be a wake-up call to other industries that haven’t quite gotten on board with the digital revolution (looking at you landline telephone providers and home security services). Wait too long, and other startups will jump in to fill the gap.

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