We were the only ones to go out on a limb and debunk the cord-cutting-is-going-to-spell-the-end-of-Pay-TV crusade, way back in November of 2010. Most of the shills and hacks have since retreated, but for those who still believe the “threat” is imminent, we have (more) bad news for you.
Unless they are stealing their shows (aka, illegally), the future for cord cutters won’t require shades. Instead, get ready to bust out that credit card or PayPal account number.
Exhibit A: YouTube
We panned YouTube’s $100 million investment in “professional” channel development earlier this year (which later turned out to be $150 million). While the site’s ad revenues are indeed soaring, this one doesn’t look like it’s paying off as completely as planned.
At the end of July, YouTube said it was tossing in another $200 million or so. This is called “doubling down” in betting parlance, and is usually not seen as playing a strong hand.
Then, to add to the mystery, Robert Kyncl, “global head of content” at YouTube, made some sort of statement at a recent Abu Dhabi Media Summit [sic] about Google considering an access fee for at least a handful of the better YouTube channels.
Imagine that. A cord cutter one day arrives at the AwesomenessTV channel and a screen pops up demanding $2.50 to watch something awesome. Awesome, indeed.
Exhibit B: Vimeo
In late September, YouTube competitor Vimeo announced “Tip Jar,” a method for getting viewers to, well, tip the cook, if you will. Much more importantly though, Vimeo also said it would introduce – here it comes, that hated word – PAYWALL technology, sometime in “the next several months.”
Imagine that. Vimeo envisions a day very soon where the cooks (content producers) will say “f&ck tips, I can’t make this sh&t for free.” And will result in a lot of cord-cutting viewers saying “f&ck Vimeo.”
Exhibit C: Hulu
Meanwhile, analysts on the Street and in the Cubes are all agog and aghast at Hulu’s recent viewer numbers. August unique visitors were reported at 12 million, collapsing from December’s figure of 19 million.
In addition, Hulu reported that hours viewed came in at 65 million in August. Another collapse. March’s level was 156 million hours.
Hulu was the cord cutter’s “go to.” It would appear that “good and free” content is getting pretty hard to find on Hulu lately.