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Will Cloud-Based Streaming Services be the Real Replacement to Your Cable Box?

Will Cloud-Based Streaming Services be the Real Replacement to Your Cable Box?

With Sony announcing details of its new cloud-based streaming service, PlayStation Vue, last week – designed to offer an internet-only TV package as a replacement for cable or satellite – the question on everyone’s mind now is: Will cloud-based TV services replace the current model of cable subscriptions?

The transition to the cloud in video streaming has created waves of change for professional solutions, which have already turned the opportunity into a trend (though some may qualify it as an experimental one) towards ‘cable-less’ TV services.

At IBC this year, we disclosed our own research based on the experiences and expectations today’s connected consumers have of video on demand (VOD) content. As part of this study, we found that consumers now expect even more from their VOD experience than ever before. According to the results, almost three quarters of consumers (72 percent) said that they would choose to watch VOD content instead of linear TV because they can watch it anytime, regardless of their location. That said, the convenience of VOD content means that consumers are watching content more frequently, on more devices, and are beginning to consider on-demand over traditional TV.

VOD content platforms such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer have introduced the concept of ‘anytime viewing’ to consumers, and it has already had a significant impact on their TV habits. According to the study, half of consumers watch VOD content at least once a week, and 41 percent tune into VOD at least twice a week. Perhaps PlayStation Vue is the impetus the cloud industry needs to accelerate cloud-based TV streaming services among consumers.

Cloud-based TV, the gateway to cross-platform.

As a result of our research on VOD preferences, we also found that 20 percent of consumers expected VOD content to be available across all devices, and 40 percent of VOD viewers are more likely to watch internet video on a smart device – including game consoles, tablets, smartphones and smart TVs. Clearly Sony has paid attention to this demand too, with PlayStation Vue (originally announced at CES earlier this year) set to branch out from the game console and onto iPad and other Sony/non-Sony devices later next year.

A great promise for new age TV 

While cloud-based streaming services offer TV on-demand to the general consumer, its increasing popularity also holds implications for the future of broadcasters and the traditional ‘box in the corner’.

A shift away from TV as the main delivery device has already begun, with mobile devices delivering content whenever convenient. But this slow shift away from the television has altered the pressures on broadcasters, forcing them to adapt to this new world of on-demand and catch-up services to respond to the evolving audience expectations.

There’s no doubt that cloud-based TV services such as PlayStation Vue will change the traditional concept of TV. Although online TV has come a long way, according to our own research, there are still improvements to be made in both technology – such as quicker and higher quality video across all devices – and business models before VOD can replace traditional cable subscriptions once and for all.