With the TV Everywhere model surging, NBCUniversal's new live-streaming service is the latest strand to pop loose on the ropes that tether TV programming to cable and satellite service.
NBC will start 2015 by offering around-the-clock streams of content from its national stations and local affiliates. The content will be available on mobile devices and at NBC.com.
The broadening of its TV Everywhere model is a step away from cable and satellite TV service, though it doesn't forsake them for now. Customers will need to prove that they have access to the channels through satellite or cable TV service before NBC will authorize the streaming delivery of its content.
"It's value for your subscription and the value comes from not only just being able to have access to all of our different programs, from our great suite of brands, but also in frankly through your sub ... at a time and place that is convenient to you," said Alison Moore, executive vice president of TV Everywhere for NBCUniversal.
The TV Everywhere model may add value to a consumer's subscription, but it also brings in more ad dollars to NBC and builds the infrastructure for the network for when pay TV fully breaks away from the standard model.
HBO recently announced that it was expanding its TV Everywhere model outside the reach of satellite and cable TV providers, and CBS has already launched such a service. In 2015, consumers will be able to subscribe to HBO and HBO alone for web and mobile access to all of the network's programming.
CBS's CBS All Access packages all of its national networks into an on-demand service and offers more than a dozen live streams from its local affiliates.
While NBC and others aren't coaxing consumers away from premium coax, they are helping build a sector that saw a 38 percent increase from the second quarter of 2014 to the third. In the third quarter of 2014, TV Everywhere consumption rose 108 percent year over year.
The surge of TV Everywhere and the rise of streaming media hardware covers a vision of life after satellite and cable TV have each drawn their last breath, though neither will go gently into that night. The success of HBO's standalone offering, HBO Go, and CBS All Access will play significant roles in dictating how long it will be before the balance of power shifts to the streaming of à la carte programming, as rivals will be sure to follow if those networks thrive outside of the pay TV fold.