By Ashlee Kieler
March 30, 2017
Cable TV operators like Comcast and Charter have rarely, if ever, had to compete directly with each other. But that truce — kept in place thanks to local franchise agreements that limit competition — may soon end if the pay-TV companies decide to start offering service outside of their footprint.
Bloomberg reports that in order to stay relevant with consumers, companies like Comcast and Charter might just have to start encroaching on each other’s turf with their own streaming services.
At least that’s the belief for Discovery Communications chief executive David Zaslav, who told reporters this week that increased competition from streaming services will eventually take a toll on cable providers.
For as long as we can remember, cable providers like Comcast and Charter have stayed away from each other’s largest service areas — an issue that was constantly discussed during the merger approval process in recent years.
Zaslav contends that the companies will eventually have to disrupt the system, starting a “street fight” of sorts between traditional cable companies and streaming service providers such as AT&T (DirecTV Now), Dish (Sling), and Sony (PlayStation Vue).
These live TV streaming services are offered by companies that have never been hemmed in by franchise agreements. DirecTV and Dish compete against each other, and against traditional cable companies, for viewers nationwide. The cable providers offer ample streaming content, but currently only for their existing pay-TV customers.