Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Criticizing what someone has made with middlebrow dismissiveness is one thing but pointing out that taking on a legally and commercially entrenched industry will be hard and here are some of the specific challenges is entirely valid.

I think the original question is worth picking apart if the answers are being criticized.

>Ask HN: I want to build a cable company. How would I get started?

> I want to build a cable company that centers around viewer types. Basically, it is my understanding that the majority of my cable costs centers around channels (like fox) that I just dont watch, if I wanted to build a system that let customers limit this, where would I get started?

The original question is worse (by a long way) than most of the answers. Most of the answers pointed out the major challenges or suggested better ways to achieve the vaguely stated aims although there were some useless dismissals.

The question indicates (possibly wrongly) a massive lack of understanding of the business "Basically, my understanding...[something basically right but oversimplified]". It is badly punctuated "fox" rather than "Fox", 'dont' rather than "don't". The question also fails to really be clear about what he wants to do. Does he really want to run a cable company maintaining wires in the ground and boxes in homes? Or is this mostly about securing more favorable and flexible content deals? Or is there an implicit assumption that he needs to own the cables to get the deals? What scale does he want to start on? A small town/city or national?

I didn't see the original question while it was active but if I did I would have pointed out how hard such a business is to break into especially if top grade content is required due to the maze of exclusivity contracts and the value of them which means massive amounts of money are needed to make the sellers choose non-exclusive options. Even companies like Microsoft and Sony with massive deployed platforms (Xbox and PS3 in particular) need prolonged negotiations to get any content and aren't anywhere near being able to offer full cable replacements and even with their own content Sony can offer only what is not exclusively licensed elsewhere.

However that doesn't mean that the video space can't be attacked as Netflix is showing but it will in my view need to be an indirect attack that builds audience until it can compete head to head for the major deals and content as a viable distribution platform and pricing model. Note that when the competition really starts costs may rise not fall as the platforms will compete for the most important content potentially driving up content prices for all the distribution platforms.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact