Screen time: Cutting the cord; streaming Showtime; Aereo layoffs

How about a little screen time? There’s action in the world of TV.

• Some don’t want their pay TV: “Cord cutting” is on the rise, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing public company reports and a research firm’s estimates. The pay-TV industry lost about 179,000 TV customers in the third quarter, up from a drop of 83,000 in the same quarter a year ago.

All major cable and satellite providers saw defections, including Cablevision. “Ultimately cord-cutting and going to over the top is something we do believe is going to happen and we are preparing ourselves for it,” said James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision, according to the Journal.

“Over the top” refers to video-streaming services.

• And so, some cable networks are going over the top. Showtime will likely be available as a standalone streaming offering next year, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said this week. Competitor HBO said last month it would offer a standalone streaming service starting next year, meaning subscribers won’t need to have a pay-TV account to get their fix of HBO shows and movies. Looks like the great(?) unbundling is on its way.

• Finally, we have news about Aereo, the troubled, tabled service that streamed live local broadcasts to customers in select markets, bypassing cable providers. In the summer, the Supreme Court found Aereo in violation of copyright laws. Now the company is closing its Boston office and laying off employees, after a court ruling last month that issued a nationwide injunction on its service. The company is trying to be reclassified as a cable-TV service, and it told GigaOm that it’s “continuing to conserve resources while we chart our path forward.”


Illustration by Chris Strach/Mercury News archives


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