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Roku: Netflix Stumbles Are a Minor Blip, Company Still Doing Well

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What will online TV look like just five years down the road? That was one of the questions tackled by a Streaming Media West panel entitled, "Cutting the Cord on TV: Will Online Video Really Lead to Cable's Demise?"

"I think web TV in five years looks like TV," said Jim Funk, vice president of business development for Roku. "You can watch live, you can watch on-demand, a variety of providers. I think there'll be more choices in terms of packages than you see on TV today."

As for the devices that we'll be using to stream that TV, Funk said that it was the experience that matters.

"I have a hard time seeing beyond next week, but I think we're really focused on the experience and enjoying that, so it's a device but it's really a lot of software around it to make it a good experience, as well," added Funk.

In examining Netflix's well-publicized stumbles, panel moderator Greg Sandoval of CNET took a "sky is falling" approach, suggesting that Netflix's drop in subscribers was the sign of an irreversible trend. Funk took a more measured stance, noting that Netflix's drop in subscribers was a small fraction of the total.

"To put in in perspective, they have 25 million, they still have 24-something, so they're still a phenomenal success. It wasn't like they went to 12. Given how much they changed their pricing structure, it was actually a modest loss, in that regard, which I think is a tribute to the fact that they don't have a direct competitor today in that segment.

"What they did was offer an alternative and someone said 'Hey, I can get a lot of content for a lot less money.' So, for people at the margin who said, 'I'm not getting the value out of cable that I think I'm paying for,' this is a way to enjoy a lot of entertainment for a lot less. Certainly, if someone can't afford cable and they cut cable, then that's just going to happen and Netflix is not the deciding factor. If someone says, 'I'm not getting the value out of cable that I want to get to, and I can cobble together a lot of entertainment over the Internet,' then that will help people make that decision," said Funk.

Scroll down to view the full session.

Cutting the Cord on TV: Will Online Video Really Lead to Cable's Demise?

From Hulu to Netflix, streaming video is having a powerful impact on the traditional television industry. But are consumers really cutting the cord and bypassing cable operators in favor of online video? With the broadcast networks facing some of the same threats as the newspaper industry, will services like TV Everywhere and over-the-top (OTT) content be the industry's savior? These topics and more are addressed by this panel of content heavyweights. 

Moderator: Greg Sandoval, Senior Writer, CNET

Speaker: Jim Funk, VP, Business Development, Roku

Speaker: Evan Young, Senior Director, Product Marketing, TiVo

Speaker: Derrick Oien, President, CEO, chumby

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