Breakout

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Content Still King in Battle for Television: Former TiVo President

Breakout

Watching your favorite TV show has gotten a lot easier over the years thanks to technology poineered by TiVo (TIVO) and streaming from the web. If you miss Modern Family when it airs, there are plenty of other options to catch it after. But with so many ways to digest content, who is winning the battle for your eyeballs?

Nielsen's annual Consumer Usage Report showed that 73% of American's still get their TV via traditional living room television sets, a number former TiVo President and current CEO of Next Issue Media, Morgan Guenther, says won't go down significantly anytime soon.

"We've always felt that the living room and that big 52-inch screen is where you go to consume the content you really love, and I don't see that changing in the short term," he says. Still, Guenther admits, "the growth opportunity is on the mobile side. From a streaming perspective there's no question those services are expanding significantly." (See: Top Publishers Join Forces to Create 'Netflix for Magazines')

Two prime examples are the "HBO Go" and "Watch ESPN" apps. These programs that allow consumers to watch content on their phones and tablets are wildly popular but, as Guenther notes, still tethered to a customer's cable subscription. "I think you may see a breakout at some point in streaming," he says, "when HBO ultimately says 'you know what, we'll offer that just to streaming subscribers' but it's not gonna happen yet. There's no reason to do that yet."

In the meantime, Guenther cites five billion connected devices as the premier reason that content is making its way more and more to mobile. But he believes it will simply increase overall appetite for content rather than send your television set the way of the Dodo. Consumers spend "five hours a day viewing content on traditional TV," Gunether points out, and "a billion hours a month at Netflix (NFLX) right now — it's just more consumption."

Two of the heavyweights trying to play in this burgeoning field are, of course, Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG); but can they be game changers? "At the end of the day," says Guenther, "they need content, and if they can get the content and they can deliver that in a timely, seamless way, yeah they'll be players. If they can't, it's gonna be very difficult to unseat multi-channel over the long run."

Are you ready to ditch your cable subscription for streaming content, or is the living room experience here to stay? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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