Comcast And Time Warner Team Up To Control What TV You Watch Online

from the consumers-anyone? dept

There's certainly been plenty of talk lately about how efforts like Hulu to move television shows online could undermine the television industry as people start to realize that they don't need to pay gobs of money to a monopoly cable provider (other than maybe for broadband). The TV content folks believe this is a problem as well, because the cable companies currently pay them corporate-sized gobs of money for the rights to offer their channels to end customers. This leads to regular fights between cable companies and content providers -- but neither really want to see that old system go away. The cable companies want end users to keep paying monopoly-inflated gobs of money, and the content creators want that hefty check from the cable companies.

So, it was no surprise back in February to hear of plans to make agreements between cable companies and content providers that would limit what kind of video you could watch online, requiring you to be a cable company subscriber and "authenticating" what you could watch. Thus, it should be no surprise that Comcast and Time Warner are now announcing exactly that.

This should raise all sorts of antitrust concerns. First, you've got industry execs working together to limit consumer choice, and these industry execs already have quasi-monopolies in certain regions. And they're doing this to keep prices high against competition from the internet. Doesn't that seem like a problem?

The real issue, of course, is that the equation is (as it so often is with such companies) backwards. Rather than embracing what the internet allows these companies to do, they're trying to remove that ability, and make it act like good old television, with those good old revenue streams -- and, amusingly, claim it's "the future of television." Not even close. It's television's past, with an attempt to move it to the internet without any real advantages. As Om Malik points out in the link above: "The deal makes it painfully obvious that everything cable companies do... is done to save their video franchises." It's not about looking forward. It's about preserving the past.

Filed Under: cable companies, online video
Companies: comcast, time warner cable

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    R. Miles (profile), 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re @ *yawn*

    why should you be able to watch the same content online for free?
    You're kidding, right?


    Get this through your head. We, as consumers, pay for services.

    If an online venue wants to offer us content at no cost, because they have other models to pay for it, why should we have to pay to view it?

    Let's review YouTube. Here's a site which allows anyone to post any movie with absolutely no cost. Yet, to list "content" by the movie/television industry, YouTube has to pay?

    That's absurd. Here's a website offering to distribute content at NO COST to these companies, but they still demand money just to host it.

    As a consumer, I get tired of paying for distribution channels filled with ads. Advertising has always been the way to "pay for things" which were "free", but now we have to endure both? Screw this system and the industries that maintain them.

    It's about time distributors wake the hell up and realize they're dying. The internet is the new distribution system and there's absolutely no reason to cap "micropayments" to those who want to use it (regardless of reason).

    Because, in time, these micropayments will eventually force such costs from consumers, they'll simply not be able to afford it.

    For crying out loud, just look at the cable industry for proof!

    Don't be ignorant. Instead of defending these distribution idiocies, please stand up against them.

    For eventually, your mortgage payment will be less than what you'll pay for "entertainment" by these companies.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.