Nationwide Content Rights Mean Comcast Eventually Will Break With Past Industry Practice

Geography and industry culture sometimes can be barriers to success in the over the top applications and services realms. Note past efforts by Comcast to offer a streaming service only to consumers who live within Comcast’s fixed network geography.

That decision was partly an effort to avoid cannibalizing it own linear TV services, and partly to avoid competing with cable operators in other areas (cable TV operators virtually never overbuild over cable tV operators).

So Comcast’s latest move to gain content rights on a nationwide business is an important move. Eventually, success in the streaming service business will require ubiquitous availability, irrespective of which entity owns the actual access networks. That is a fundamental reflection of the way internet protocol networks operate, where any application can be used by any user on any public IP network.

But any such move to nationwide service availability will mark a huge change in industry practices, virtually requiring competing against other cable operators. The same will be true for cable operators who get into the mobile services business at the highest levels.

With roaming agreements, virtually any mobile service provider, such as any mobile virtual network operator, can offer service nationwide. But marketing sometimes is conducted on a regional basis. The main point is that the business now inherently requires nationwide scope, in terms of network coverage, if not in terms of marketing efforts.
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