Bundling no more? Netflix, Hopper chip away at traditional TV

Kevin Spacey appears in the Netflix original series 'House of Cards.'

Rumors are swirling that Twitter is in talks with Viacom and NBC in the hopes of putting short video clips into tweets. For Twitter, such partnerships would be about selling advertising and getting people to spend more time in their Twitter feed.

Whether or not Tweet TV becomes a reality, the TV industry is changing fast -- and one of its pillars, bundling, may be about to fall.

"You've got to think of mainstream media as an old line army that's been marching along very, very well. They've been offering consumer exactly what they want to offer," says New York Times columnist David Carr, who adds that traditional media companies are being attacked from many fronts.

"It isn't any one thing, it's insurgents coming over the hill," he says.

Insurgents like Hopper, the controversial digital video recorder that fast forwards through ads so you don't have to. Of course, bundling helped pay for a lot of good content, and the ability of consumers to pick and choose what they want to watch more efficiently means a dip in profits. Then there are the new content creators, like Netflix, which has had success with its own version of the political thriller show "House of Cards".

"The weird thing about 'House of Cards' is because of big data, because of what they know about their consumers -- they know that you like David Fincher and I like Kevin Spacey -- they knew it would be a hit before it ever happened," Carr says.

Predicting the future and making TV cheaper -- add that to the promises of big data and the tech world.

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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