As reported by Jim O’Neil in Fierce Online Video, the Roku CEO Anthony Wood gave a keynote address at the OTTCon in San Jose, California, last week. Wood is quoted as making several noteworthy remarks (and I recommend that you read the whole article), but the part that jumped out at me was this:
As the number of channels grow–there are almost 500 on Roku now and a new one is being launched almost every day–viewing has [to] grow. Roku has seen its viewing time increase from six hours a week to 12. And I think it’s going to continue growing until it reaches 35 hours, the average that viewers watch today.
Let me repeat that with emphasis: 500 channels on Roku. Tell me again what you’re missing if you cancel your cable subscription? Actually, I know the answer; major channels such as ESPN and some of the premium channels offer programming that cannot (yet) be matched online. But when people are watching as many hours of over-the-top streaming video as they currently watch of the linear broadcast content, don’t you think that the ESPNs and HBOs of the traditional media might take notice? Clearly, they already are aware and are deep into their own experiments into Internet streaming for their content.
Oh, and HBO Go is indeed one of those 500 channels on Roku already. If I were running a cable or satellite television service, I’d be trying hard to figure out what I’m going to do when my current business falls apart.