I think for us LaoWai MOD is still better than cable, as long as you don’t care about HBO.
But the gap is narrowing with better choices on cable, and the recent loss of several channels, like BBC Entertainment, SYFY, and InConcerts channel. There are others that have gone, too. For Indian viewers, the loss of 225, Star Movies (India) with their bollywood classsics disappeared. Universal has also gone missing. The sports channels seem to be a rotating roster of channels… but I don’t watch them. Also, Al Jazeera & RT Today both disappeared a while back, weakening their news line up.
So the gap is narrowing slightly… As MOD starts to drive towards profitability, I think they will cut more international channels to save costs and replace with Taiwanese channels, Mainland channels & Korean to increase audience. The recent shake up of the channels on MOD is a sign that things are about to change even more. It’s the same with most maturing businesses (like EBAY, etc) who give up the niche markets that brought their initial success. I think CHT will drop the niche markets gradually. They’ve dropped numerous services that I liked too. The music streaming and radio streaming services were dropped ages ago. Their specialized programming looks like it’s going to be next.
I suspect that NETFLIX will take a large chunk out of their on-demand video services, too. Already, they’re trying to push annual packages, regular packages for movies & subscription efforts… but the range of movies is very limited compared to NETFLIX. They only really compete on ease of use, and first to market. Also the VOD tools are quite primitve, broken up into different segments (that make little or no sense), and search is chinese only.
Unfortunately, they were the early mover in Taiwan for On-Demand and TVIP. They also used to have decent movie packages, but if you subscribe for a while… it’s easy to see most of the movies you want… then there’s little added to the packages. End result: viewers only subscribe for a limited period. They were also early movers in HD, and still are #1 in the local market for breadth of HD choice.
However, they have been hobbled by the law, slow to manage change and adapt, and driven by a market that fixates on the price (not the quality)… meaning innovation is limited, patchy and of short duration.
We’ll see how it pans out. But I expect to go back to watching Cable TV in the next few years. Or switching entirely to TVIP from online vendors only.