SeaChange's Samit: Cable has already hit 'tipping point' to OTT dominance

Cable' over-the-top future has arrived.

So says one of the pay-TV industry's leading technologists, SeaChange CEO Jay Samit, who told an NAB panel audience that the cable industry has already reached a "tipping point," which he defines as cable companies making more money delivering video through broadband than through their traditional cable systems.

"Sometime in the next month, Comcast will start making more money from broadband than it does on video, but the tipping point has already occurred," said Samit, speaking during NAB's Media and Finance Investor Conference Monday in Las Vegas.

"Cable is really, really good for you if you're not a twentysomething customer," he added.

Samit and SeaChange have somewhat of a unique juxtaposition, in that their technology is used for traditional cable set-tops--SeaChange is an RDK contributor, for example. At the same time, the company is rapidly ramping up OTT services for pay-TV and programmer clients.

Also speaking Monday, Kevin Wirlick, VP of product management for Arris, agreed with Samit, noting that cable operators are rapidly evolving their IP networks to shift video onto them.

Among the panelists, only Peter Alexander, chief marketing officer for Harmonic, challenged Samit, noting, "The idea that the pay-TV bundle is going away is overblown. Apple's service is a bundle."

Samit also preached the value of nascent OTT services, even unprofitable ones, as essential tools for gathering customer data.

"The earlier you can get in, look at how customers are willing to pay… get your hands on that data, the better," he said. "Google got in early, and they have the best monetization of content. Knowing your customer is key to surviving the next few years."

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