In Netflix’s earnings letter to shareholders it lays out an interesting vision for the future of TV:Over the next few years, UIs will evolve in astounding ways, such as allowing viewers to watch eight simultaneous games on ESPN, colour coding where the best action is in a given moment or allowing Olympics fans the ability to control their own slow-motion replays. A decade from now, choosing a linear feed from a broadcast grid of 200 channels will seem like using a rotary dial telephone.
Just as broadcast networks have substantially transformed themselves into cable channels over the last 20 years, both broadcast and cable networks will effectively also become Internet networks like Netflix. As a pure-play we have many advantages, however, just as cable did over broadcast. We are 100% on-demand and highly-personalised. Our brand is broad, rather than niche, so we can combine the benefits of multiple channels into one service. Additionally, our Internet culture enables us to create and drive social TV, recommendations TV, and other Internet innovations faster than our cable and broadcast network competitors.
As cable networks developed, they were able to both compete with broadcast networks, and to bolster broadcast networks economics through syndication. Today it is accepted practice for networks to licence parts of their content to other networks, if they get paid well enough. That is the world of content licensing in which we live. In that sense, we are just another network competing for viewing time with, and licensing content from, other networks.