The over-the-top TV OTT service changed the details released one month ago about its upcoming updates, programming and new packages offered. According to the new announcement, VIDGO claims it will soon offer low-cost sports, local and pay-TV bundles, as well as VOD and premium services. Movie titles, high-definition music, build your own programming packages, and on-the-go live video services are part of the current offer, while the company retracted its statement about offering MLB Network. This not the first time VIDGO came up short from its initial promises, though. Originally introduced on this year’s CES in Las Vegas, the streaming startup promised a lot for its cheap $20-a-month plan. The company’s president and former DirecTV exec Robert Kostensky claimed that the basic package would offer access to hundreds of big channels such as Disney/ABC, Discovery, and ESPN, similarly to what happens with basic cable lineups. Much like the traditional cable experience, but without all the limits of the cable itself. Content would be finally accessible online on smartphones, computers, and tablets without any equipment fees, contracts or credit checks.
Although all these offers look like a breakthrough revolution in streaming industry, its plan was to launch in 15 U.S. markets in the first half of 2016 and reach national coverage by Q4 2016. Just prior to the VIDGO CES announcement FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed to redefine some online video distributors as MVPDs, allowing some providers to access the same content that traditional cable companies are now monopolizing. He argued if online distributors pay retransmission fees, broadcasters cannot deny them access to their networks anymore. The online streaming giants waited for more direction from the government. Kostensky and his chief marketing officer and co-founder Shane Cannon, however, have the industry connections and the knowledge required to move into this challenging market. Shane is, in fact, the president of a DISH Network authorized dealer, Cannon Satellite TV, so they may hold enough weight to push forward in the new environment defined by the FCC.
It is quite clear that the next generation of entertainment programming is going to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by streaming services. The current giants of this market such as Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu already showed that they could provide their audience with a lot of interesting new content. New original shows have been produced, and many of them have even been able to achieve the most sought-after prize in television series: the Emmy award. With just 24 nominations out of a total of 139, though, streaming services showed us all their limits in this regard. They aren’t able to match the actual amount of shows nor the live linear programming of traditional television. Streaming platforms aired just 44 scripted shows out against the 365 aired on broadcast and cable. PlayStation Vue and Sling TV started offering live linear programming of cable channels, but the offer is still too limited to be viable. Many cable viewers can’t still migrate to the new services since the alternatives are far too scarce, stopping a true migration of the actual audience from the old technologies to the newer ones.
If Kostensky and Cannon are able to fulfill all the promises they made, however, VIDGO really seems to be able to revolution the current online services scenario. Customers have waited for decades to be able to build their content packages and pay only for what they want instead of being forced to buy for a lot of shows and sports matches they’re never going to watch. Although the new updates released by the company on its upcoming features indicate it could easily become the best streaming service in this industry, VIDGO’s executives still need to deliver before they can pull this stunt off.