In February of this year, Nielsen – the company that measures consumer TV viewership (among other things) – announced that it would begin initiating new plans to measure consumers who watch online television, by 2014. It made several major headlines – and rightly so. As more people move away from costly cable packages and toward online streaming services, like Hulu and Netflix, cable networks and program producers need a way to compare traditional versus new viewers in order to make the best business decisions. For John Bigelow, one of the founders of Jabid.com, this media transition to the Web is one of the motivations behind the startup.
Jabid.com is an online platform that allows you to efficiently find films, television, and Web originals to watch on the Internet. Once a specific program is located, the site also allows you to compare prices and choose between streaming it through Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, Vudu, and others – essentially serving as a marketplace for online streaming. Jabid.com’s main feature is its emphasis on social influence – users can see what programs their friends and families enjoy, as well as read what they’re saying about them, through the platform.
“Online program viewership is growing exponentially. [Jabid.com] is an efficient way to find programs that are available online,” says Bigelow.
According to John Bigelow, the world of visual media is moving toward a largely-online model: that, soon, television networks will work toward having most of their programs available for streaming online. Because of this, Bigelow and his cofounder, Ashish Vaid, hope to turn Jabid.com into – essentially – a one-stop hub for all things visual media. On top of collating the available programs on the Web and reviews from people within users’ social networks, Jabid.com hopes to have the future capability for displaying its own kind of TV schedule, as well as some kind of Fandango functionality, furthering the platform’s influence to currently featured movies.
“[Over the next 10 years], we’ll reach a point when program producers and cable networks will recognize that they could make more money by streaming their programs on the Web.”
While the trend toward online streaming is increasing, there are several aspects of the cable industry that complicate societal-wide adoption of purely online programming. From the cable industry’s powerful lobbyists stymying disruption in the space, to disputes even amongst TV networks and cable companies themselves, there’s a possibility that 10 years isn’t enough time to fully renovate the industry. However, while such complications face the trials of time, Bigelow would like to tell consumers “Jabid.com: cord cutters, welcome.”