All of the current content options, as well as many about to be born, will undoubtedly change consumer attitudes in significant ways. It is better for you to think about that now rather than when it happens.
Allow me to explain:
In the Aug. 18 edition of TWICE I described my experiences as an urban consumer, citing the differences between my buying habits for my downtown Seattle condominium and Southern California suburban home.
At most, someone from my family will be in our Seattle home a maximum of eight weeks a year. Unfortunately, the cable company doesn't care whether we're there or not and simply sends me a $120 bill each month for TV and Internet service — 100 percent cost for 15 percent use. Not a good deal.
A month or so ago I got serious about making some kind of change. The first step was looking at how much could be saved if I canceled the cable TV service but kept the Internet access. Quite a bit as it turns out. Cutting off cable TV means I will pay $55 a month for broadband, saving $780 a year.
Still, although we watch very little TV when there, we did want some option in addition to DVDs. Talking it over with my 25-year-old son Kyle (more on him in a minute), two possibilities came to mind: Download pay TV on a PlayStation3 or Apple TV, or access our Southern California satellite/DVR TV via Slingbox.
I attempted to research the Slingbox option but didn't get very far. Their Web site left me with more questions than answers, a situation that did not improve when I emailed customer service. Their response? Nothing, which is a subject for a different column.
So Apple TV or PlayStation3? Kyle lobbied vigorously for PS3 because he has one and loves the gaming/Blu-ray/TV download combination. While no big fan of Apple, I do have an Apple TV and no desire to game, so the decision was made to try life without cable using the Apple TV download service.
The result? I have successfully severed the cable. While needing to adjust my viewing habits, life without cable in my second home is just fine.
Yes, I realize I'm talking about a second home, a luxury many do not have. Nonetheless, you need to consider this because the idea came from 25-year-old Kyle, your new consumer who currently sees no reason to ever buy satellite or cable for his home. He plans to go directly to the pay-per-view model using PS3 and a Vista computer as the center of his home A/V system, all connected to his 32-inch LCD HDTV.
Whether or not he ever pays for cable or satellite isn't the point. What is, is that he is completely open to a very different home A/V experience than his parents had, and very different from what he himself grew up with. And, as a result, he will very likely be a different customer in relation to those you sell to now.