Just as one tech company’s dream of spawning a new era of online live TV was finally put to rest today, another company has outlined similar ambitions. As we reported earlier, Intel’s much anticipated OnCue streaming service was purchased by Verizon today, though the company’s ultimate plans for its recent acquisition remain unclear. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal also reported today that Amazon has set out on its own quest to buck the cable establishment by providing live TV through its online streaming network.
The goal of creating an online service that dishes out live programming on par with the kind of packages offered by cable and satellite companies has proved to be no small task. Intel’s attempts with OnCue to create an all in one service for cable, streaming apps, and mobile delivery were thwarted when the company couldn’t get content providers to open their doors. Providers wouldn’t risk harming their lucrative relationships with massive cable conglomerates like Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon itself, on an upstart like Intel Media for fear of retribution.
However, Amazon has a leg up on Intel that lends this latest venture a much better chance of success. Thanks to Amazon’s expansive Prime Instant Viewing service, the company has already rubbed elbows with some of the big wig studios and production companies that churn out TV content. Amazon is hoping those ties will translate to success where Intel failed. The WSJ reports Amazon has already approached three major conglomerates looking to secure rights to bring live content to its site. In addition, Amazon is also working on its own streaming set-top-box in the vein of Roku, Apple TV, and presumably, Intel’s own OnCue device that was the flagship of its proposed streaming system.
All of this could be good news for those who have been looking for a more convenient way to access live TV content without getting caught up in contracts, or paying for large packages with unwanted channels and bundled services. While negotiations are still at the very early stages, Amazon just might have the resources and the clout to get a deal done with at least a few networks. But it won’t be easy, or cheap. According to the Journal’s report, Amazon paid over $1 billion in content fees for its instant video services last year alone, and the number will likely increase if it secures deals for live TV.
Still, while our last piece ended on a down note with the unsure future of the OnCue streaming service, as well as the recent net neutrality ruling that will give unprecedented power to Internet Service Providers over current streaming services, Amazon’s latest enterprise offers a glimmer of hope.
We’ll have to wait and see if the company can make headway with content providers, but if it’s successful, it could help loosen the grip of big cable, and open the door to an all new way to access TV.