Albania Redux? / by Dan Weingrod

Balkan Army

Balkan Army

Reading in RWW today about the Internet Assault on Traditional TV :

Netflix's dominance over HBO in particular makes for some pretty symbolic future-of-TV discussion fodder. It is, after all, HBO that refuses to offer its programming as a stand alone subscription service, despite growing demand for such a option. It is precisely its old media business relationships and norms that are holding HBO back from letting non-cable subscribers use its HBO Go app, a fact that seems worth recalling at this particular moment in history. It's no wonder that the company's CEO is publicly rethinking that strategy and admitting to reporters that cable-free access to HBO Go may be an inevitability.

I couldn’t agree more, and thinking about “assaults” couldn’t help thinking back a couple of years when Time Warner’s CEO referred to Netflix as “the Albanian Army”.

I loved the Balkan reference at the time, but somehow it seems like we’re moving into a new era of big power.  Which QZ underlines this by pointing out that Netflix:

  1. has more American subscribers than HBO
  2. is the most watched “cable network” in the US
  3. is America’s biggest bandwidth hog, by far
  4. is the S&P’s best performing stock of the year

More than anything else what’s remarkable about Netflix resurgence into a major power is that it has done this via content creation and not via new technology. In a sense it’s not really an Internet “assault” anymore, its more a tipping point of user preferences for how they want to consume video content. With the increasing mass of young viewers moving online, all it needed was the right content to come along. If the new season of Arrested Development is a hit it could very well be to be the final battle of this Balkan era for television.