TV-as-a-Service Executive Declares Traditional Television Dead, Here’s Why He’s Wrong

As technology continues to evolve and we migrate toward a multiscreen world, traditional television has simply become extinct and IP-based television programming is dead.

At least that’s according to Robert Delamar, the chief commercial officer of UUX, an Internet TV- as-a-Service provider.

“The hard truth is that this conference used to be called IPTV [World Forum] and now it’s called TV Connect, and that’s for a reason,” Delamar said at the London event in mid-March. “I’ve seen over the four years that I’ve been speaking [at] and attending this conference a massive shift from what was really about fixed networks, very controlled environments, walled gardens in the context of IPTV on operator networks, to this wonderful, ramshackle, exciting, revolutionary time that we’re in as we make this transition to the cloud.”

Delamar continued that there “is no such thing as television anymore.”

“We live in a world where video is consumed either now or later on multiple screens or on a variety of networks,” he explained. “I think that’s a truth that most of the folks in this room would accept. We like to say at UUX that a television set is just a client on a network.”

While Delamar is certainly correct in his assessment that the television market has evolved rapidly over the past decade and appears poised to continue that transformation, the fact of the matter is that he is wrong in assuming the role of the coroner when it comes to declaring television’s death.

Rather than television being dead, it’s only the model that is shifting. Content is content, regardless of delivery protocol. The shifting model does however beg the question as to how providers can realize monetization of content, making sure they get their piece of the pie in the process.

While just about everyone has a cell phone these days, that wasn’t always the case. When cell phones began to become popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, were pundits declaring that traditional telephony providers were dead? Whether they were doesn’t really matter, however, because forward-thinking providers like AT&T, for example, understood that the telephony model was shifting from landlines to cell phones and thus started getting its hands on cellular infrastructure so they could remain economically viable over the long term.

According to recent research, the company is currently the largest provider of fixed telephony and second largest provider of mobile telephony in the United States. What’s more, AT&T also provides broadband services. Or in other words, management there anticipated the shift to mobile telephony and identified ways to weather that storm. It’s not hard to imagine a future where landlines have become obsolete—but AT&T is ready for that scenario.

So too it will go in the world of television. As TV Everywhere and over-the-top (OTT) continues to become increasingly popular, it’s not hard to imagine a future where the way television is traditionally watched changes. But forward-thinking providers can certainly see that reality unfolding before their eyes if they look hard enough, and many of them have, as they continue to increase their second-screen offerings.

Delamar is right in his opinion that traditional TV providers need to recognize the changes taking place if they wish to remain in business. But so long as they get creative and don’t rest on their laurels, they should be just fine. People want content, and as long as that remains the case, providers will figure out how to monetize it.