Net Neutrality is about one thing — Cable TV based ISPs (Time Warner, Comcast, etc) trying to recover lost revenue from exiting cable video subscribers. For both cable television subscription services and telephone service (be it traditional or VoIP) the future looks bleak.
I used to watch a lot of video on demand from Amazon. That was until I realized a lot of the stuff I had been watching had made its way to Netflix on demand. Instead of paying $2 an episode now I’m paying $7 a month. $100 for an Apple TV box and now I’m watching all of this video on my 55″ Samsung LCD and surround sound system. That is a steal.
The reality is that bandwidth is a commodity. You can’t brand it or claim yours tastes better than the competition. If an ISP tries to throttle a traffic source it can be tunneled. If they try to throttle your bandwidth you can just switch to a new ISP. I would recommend short selling shares of those companies that will be on the losing end of this battle.
The future looks marvelous for Google and Apple (and perhaps Netflix.) The two tech behemoths own their own platforms and have a massive, and affluent, user base. Other companies like Microsoft and RIM could have had a piece of this pie but they suffered brain drains and simply do not have their shit together (congrats to Microsoft for buying Skype, smart move if they manage to avoid sodomizing it.)
Ironically despite finally reaching this point where your average joe is paying for their content instead of pirating it, the United States government has taken overreaching steps to crack down on piracy. These steps are so extraordinary that Napster, Youtube, and Bittorrent would have been snuffed out in their early days, and Sean Parker would be sitting in federal prison instead of being played by Justin Timberlake. That is sad, because innovation will be driven overseas. Imagine a world where we copy Chinese businesses instead of them copying us.
The net neutrality wars are going to be ugly and obnoxious. They will drain shareholder value that should have been paid out in dividends and instead place them in the pockets of high paid lawyers and lobbyists.
Irregardless of these battles that take place, I am certain on one outcome: within 5 years consumers will be able to view their favorite television shows and movies on any device they own, at any time, in any place, hassle free (75% of the way there now.) Streaming video advertising will gobble up far more ad dollars than traditional broadcast advertising. ABC, NBC, and CBS will be shells of what they once were. Many cable television networks will no longer exist. The internet will have done to video distribution what the internet did to print distribution, in a much shorter time frame than anyone expects. Video piracy will be dead in the US because no one wants to put the effort in.
As a web publisher solidifying your brand is going to be critical. If you come across well on video or have the budget to hire those that do, you will be able to survive SE algorithm shake ups. Increasingly when people look for stuff they will demand video content. That article you have an Indian rewrite from someone elses website, with Adsense ads plastered around it, that isn’t going to work anymore. People won’t want to put in the effort. And video advertising will pay enough that they don’t need to click contextual text ads.
As William Gibson says — “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” If you look at my “predictions” I actually just told you what is already true. Its just that in 5 years its going to be more true.