Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who may be retiring in the next year or so, reportedly said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference this week that video cord-cutting in favor of over-the-top video is a real problem, not the myth that many cable TV providers and other observers have alleged. He also appeared to suggest that cable TV companies have the most to lose because they are the incumbents whose businesses are built on a pay TV foundation.
All Things Digital has Seidenberg’s comments:
“Young people are pretty smart. They’re not going to pay for something they don’t need to,” he said. “Over the top is going to be a pretty big issue for cable.” …“I think cable has some life left in its model…but that it is going to get disintermediated over the next several years.”
This is the same guy who said in 2009 that Hulu would be dead in two years. Did he change his mind about the size of the threat that OTT video poses? That’s not entirely clear. Seidenberg seems to think the cable guys have more to lose because video has been the core business, and that’s pretty true — the incumbents in any market always have the most to lose with the rise of new challengers. Seidenberg can tell you all about that first hand, as the once-core landline telephony of telcos like Verizon has rapidly deteriorated.
Seidenberg also needs to remember that though Verizon is an upstart success in the pay TV world, it has plenty to lose if consumers decide to cut a major household expense in favor of other options. So, who will still be around past 2011, Hulu or Seidenberg in his current job?
That’s our take on this. Let us know what you think in the comments section below: