If you have not heard already, allow me to inform you that The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad & Tobago (TATT) are going into discussions next week about a possible ban of Android boxes and even going as far as exploring the option of an outright importation ban of the product.
The reason for these discussions now is that their pockets have been hit. Citing that during the same quarter in 2016 which saw sales at around $183million dwindle down to $164million just a year later.
Sometimes you have to sit and wonder just who is at the helm of these discussions and what year are these people hailing from. To simply nail down the profit being lost due to one source is just ludicrous and lazy thinking.
Linear TV sales are on being forecasted on the decline globally and for a variety of reasons that have never yet been seen before, most of which have zero to do with Android Boxes. Here are 5 reasons TV companies are losing money and market share today.
1) Digital Marketing
We all know that the bread and butter of TV service providers are Ad revenue. With the rise of Digital Marketing, more companies are beginning to invest more money in Digital Marketing, rather than spending their money on purchasing TV Ads. Now, this still has a ways to go to really threaten traditional TV ad money, but it is on the rise and companies globally are beginning to take serious stock of this event.
2) Cord Cutting
Now TATT feels like the reason their pockets are being hurt is solely that of Android Boxes and that an outright ban on importing the devices will restore them back to prominence, wrong! With so many services on the rise like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, Facebook Watch, Sling TV and the list literally goes on.
More people are finding better value in cutting the cord than to spend big money on monthly packages with cable providers. Emarketer estimates that by 2021, in the US alone, 81 million cable subscribers will have cut their service subscriptions or have never signed up for one in the first place. That figure is up 64% from today with no traces of slowing down.
3) Sports Holding Cable Companies Together
The main reason why most people around the world are still taking cable packages to date is for sports. Sports channels have become the driving factor when constructing service plans and are one of the main things customers look for when selecting a plan from their respective providers.
As more sports applications begin to hit the market, that come available directly on our smart TVs or clients mirroring their mobile devices onto their TVs, naturally clients are finding more affordable ways to get their sports fixes than signing a contract and paying a bigger fee with cable providers.
4) Digital Consumption
This pattern is a pattern that is on the steady rise. As our lives become busier, we are finding less and less time to be able to sit in front of a TV and consume content. People are now consuming more Digital content on their smartphones and tablets than ever before. Emarketer conducted a study that showed in 2015, the avg American home consumed about 4hrs:10min of tv/day and 1hr: 1min of digital content/day.
In 2018, those numbers have changed to 3hrs:52min/day and 1hr: 22min/per day on a mobile device. As smartphones and tablets are coming with bigger screens, amazing screen technology, better sound experience, and more portable, it stands to reason that the smartphone companies are putting out much better products that will be geared towards long-form content consumption than in past years.
Nobody would have watched a 30min tv show on a 4” screen, but now we have devices pushing the limits of screen real estate that can easily fit into our pockets, it’s much easier to watch a 30min episode of your favourite show than ever before.
5) New Competition
Let’s be honest, traditional cable providers have never had this type of competition before at any period in the past. Everything is coming together for us to be mobile, and do more whether it be work or play on the go. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, and more are doubling down on their investments and even premium tv stations are offering monthly subscriptions to their applications so you can get your favourite shows from the network without having to sign up for a package from your cable provider. The market has become a perfect storm to finally make big dents into cable provider’s bottom lines.
Where does TATT go from here? Well for starters, no Country has come out and attempted to ban the importation of Android boxes, because that’s actually pretty stupid given the fact that Android Boxes do much more than just stream “illegal content” and have to be modified at that. Meaning that ordering an Android Box, Apple TV, Fire TV Box/Stick, or a Roku means there is no harm in purchasing one online. What they can do if they feel that Android Boxes are the sole reason for their dip in sales, is work with the authorities to make selling modified boxes a fineable offence like some other smarter countries have been working towards.
The reality is though if someone in TATT is reading this. Innovation is here and has finally hit Trinidad & Tobago. Almost every single device has access to paid cord cutting apps or can be modified for illegal apps, your worries should not be focused on Android boxes, but the cable companies should start focusing on consumer behaviours and doubling down on mobile options that rival the Netflix’s and Hulu’s and doing so at competitive rates.
Bernard Pantin (General Manager of DirectTV) was quoted in the Guardian newspaper saying that he estimates around 80,000 android boxes or more in the country. So what! That does not mean that 80,000 people are illegally streaming content. I would advise more people in positions of power get familiar with the technology, its capabilities and their competitors before they irresponsibly insinuate that everyone with an Android Box is up to no good. (See Guardian article here: Tatt Weighing Android Box Ban)
The baby boomers may still watch more TV as they are at home killing time, but the younger generations are on the go and care more for internet and access to their favourite shows on demand at cheap prices, as their lifestyles are vastly different. If placing an import ban on Android Boxes is the only bright idea you have to combat your decline in sales, then be prepared for even further declines as you clearly and simply do not understand your market or what is going on around you.