Are Cable Companies Looking To 'Emulate' Web Video Sites, Or Destroy Them?

from the face-value? dept

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 On the face of it, this is a good thing, since we've long argued that the TV channel is an outdated concept, and should be seen as being like a web bookmark more than anything.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.

Filed Under: cable companies, exclusivity, web video
Companies: comcast, cox, time warner cable


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2009 @ 10:16pm

    Re:

    ...if a cable company does not carry channel A, but one of their subscribers views it [channel A] via download, would the cable company be liable to pay fees?

    No, why would it? In what world would my cable company be responsible for my actions outside of it's cable service? Or my actions inside of it's service, for that matter... It would be like saying I have Cablevision with Channel A and I go visit friends in a Comcast area with Channel B. What if I didn't have cable and watched a cable channel elsewhere? Should I pony up for my viewing? What if I'm at an electronics store with cable on display? Should Cablevision be liable for what I watched elsewhere? Hell, no. That is a dumb troll question.

    Conversely, if the cable company is paying a fee, but the internet user can watch the channel online without subscribing to the channel, is the cable company paying for nothing? Should the fees paid by the cable distributor for carriage by rescinded?

    Nope, the agreement between the cableco and the network has nothing to do between the cableco and the consumer or the network and the consumer. For instance, I can watch House online on the network's website or on my TV. As long as I pay my cable and Internet bill, why does it matter? My cable company paid to be one of many companies offering this service, not to be my exclusive company, roflmao.

    Is the TV channel that streams or distributes content violating their agreement with the cable companies semi-exclusive distribution deals?

    In what world do networks offer exclusive deals to certain cable companies for certain shows? Not in this syndicated world. Roflmao, troll, roflmao.

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