A piece in BusinessWeek says that cable TV companies are "pushing to become more Web-like"
by expanding their online video offerings and making their core TV product work more like the web than the traditional channel-delineated system. On the face of it, this is a good thing, since we've long argued that the TV channel is an outdated
concept, and should be seen as being like a web bookmark more than anything. But the article largely glosses over one key point in the cable companies' push to grow their online video efforts: they want exclusivity
. So instead of throwing things open and using an ad-supported model, like Hulu, they want to take TV shows and video content, and lock it up inside a walled garden for paying customers. That's not "web-like", it's exactly the same as their current business model. Of course, even if these plans don't work out, they've got another way to try and profit from online video: by introducing capped broadband plans
that will charge customers based on how much traffic they use. Time Warner's CEO is quoted in BW as saying "we really need to look at what consumers want." It's hard to imagine they want capped broadband, and they want video locked up behind paywalls. The popularity of the likes of YouTube and Hulu indicate they want something very different from what the cable operators have in mind.