Net Neutrality Friday

I thought this week I would post some thoughts on the one type of company that might be hurt by any implementation of "Fast Lanes". These are small streaming video providers. For this post, I will use my model for this as Twitch TV. They provide a number of videos and streams to the Gaming Community (Video Games not Casino Games).

The thing is what people fear is that having a "Fast Lane" will become a mandatory requirement for that kind of company to deliver videos to consumers. Now Twitch does not do enough video to hit any ISPs radar screen in terms of the amount of bandwidth. But the delivery mechanism is critical to the success of Twitch TV. There is no other mechanism for Twitch to deliver content today. That might change in the future as frankly there is no reason that they could do not make a stream that could be sent to providers over their video infrastructure.

But that does raise a point. If the ISP makes the streaming delivery too expensive, would that not make a company like Twitch TV want to do a channel and sell it? There was already a Gaming Oriented channel that has devolved into something more general (G4TV). If you look at any channel lineup, it is clear that video providers are taking just about anything they can get their hands on. There are so many channels and so little good content that there is an imbalance the other way.

There is also the notion that we can freely publish our own videos on a site like Youtube and that Youtube might be impacted. Well, its possible. But I think Google has too much power to be bullied by the ISPs. If you have seen the outcry when the NFL network gets cut off, imagine losing Google or Youtube at an ISP.

I think there will eventually be a balance here, which means I think that any fears are likely overrated. You might need a "Fast Lane" for streamed 4K video, but I think that is the extent of things. Even then, I think that this will end up being problematic. My best guess is that we will end up in a stalemate. Yes, it is possible that one side or the other will win. But I think we are looking at a draw, for premium content. Next week, I want to take a look at the non-premium content provider.

Jim Sackman
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