Launch News: Verizon, Redbox, BSkyB, & Apple Get Into the TV Business

Through partnerships and new ventures, it appears that the online video streaming business is really taking off.Just last week, three companies announced their plans

Through partnerships and new ventures, it appears that the online video streaming business is really taking off.Just last week, three companies announced their plans to launch streaming video services. Verizon and Redbox are partnering for a U.S. based subscription service, while across the pond, BSkyB is planning to launch a streaming service that has both a subscription and pay-as-you-go plan.And in related news, rumors are flying that Apple is planning on creating its own smart TV (it’s presumed it will be called iTV–what else would they call it?).While this is great news for digital content creators, it also a bit disconcerting because of the lack of regulation in the telecommunications industry. We’ve talked before about how Apple’s bit to control both distribution and content can lead to some unnerving censorship issues. It they can control both the equipment (through iTV) and the content (through iTunes or a similar service), television may also be censored more heavily. For parents trying to eradicate porn in their household, this may not be a bad thing, but since Apple seems to have evolving standards, this may not end well for artists.BSkyB’s service and Verizon and Redbox’s partnership is less likely to lead to such a monopoly, but since many online streaming services (like Hulu) are now offering original content, one has to ask what the implications are. Can Verizon not broadcast content to its subscribers it doesn’t endorse? Will it block access to competitors like Hulu? Will consumers have to start subscribing to individual networks/channels like BSkyB, BBC, etc?The last scenario seems unlikely, but then again, the future is very uncertain.

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