Why TV Everywhere Will Fail: Because It's Based On Taking Away Value, Not Adding It

from the not-how-things-work,-folks dept

We've been pretty skeptical of the plans by the big cable companies to create "TV Everywhere," a system to try to reduce churn by offering users the ability to access TV shows online that match their cable subscriptions. The problem, of course, is that the cable companies aren't looking at this as a way to embrace the future, but more as a way to make the internet act more like cable. This is a recipe for failure. Mark Glaser, over at PBS MediaShift, digs in to explain the many reasons why TV Everywhere is likely to fail, and they're all focused around a simple issue: the whole concept is based on limiting consumer options, rather than increasing them. The TV Everywhere supporters shoot back that they are increasing options by giving people access to their TV channels online, but that's only under very restrictive conditions that are more designed to keep you from cutting the cord from the cable company -- a relationship many customers are fed up with and would love to ditch. It's a simple message that so many companies have trouble understanding these days: you don't succeed by limiting customers and taking away value.


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  1.  
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    ECA (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 2:07am

    Agreed

    I agree with the comment.
    People have to understand WHERE there money is going.
    Cutting services that charge to much is the First solution.
    Cable/sat at $40-50 per month=About $600 per year you can use for beer/food/something else.
    WE have to FORCE these people to give us something FOR our money.

     

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    Richard (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 2:12am

    Foxtel here in Australia have a similar option. They advertise it as "watch your favourite tv shows on the internet!" so when we missed a show on Lifestyle that we wanted to watch, we thought, great, watch it online. Yeah... No. Theres a grand total of 4 shows available for that entire channel. I haven't done a count, but even though there's a huge amount of repeat showings, there must be over 100 shows on that channel, and they give us 4? C'mon, you're not even trying to make it worthwhile.

     

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  3.  
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    Rick, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 2:20am

    We've had this for years...

    Uhhh, I think the cable companies are a bit behind. Dish and Slingbox have offered this for years - WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS.

    http://dish.slingbox.com/

    I love it - it even works on phones now.

     

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  4.  
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    theskyrider, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 2:40am

    It is not about....

    taking away value. All the companies are trying to do is to make sure that they make as much off their customers as humanly possible.

    Regarding that station in AU: Don't be surprised that in the future they offer ten or fifteen shows for free, but charge a 'viewing fee' for each episode of any other show.

    That is what this is about: Big Media will take all our rights away from us, give us little things for 'free' and charge for the rest. See "Free digital copy" from Warner Bros. That is a right that we already have, but they are trying to make us thing that we don't have that right and will eventually sell those rights back to us piecemeal. If the anti-circumvention portion of the DMCA were taken out, they would not have a leg to stand on....at all.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 4:36am

    My cable costs a little over $100 per month. This cable company abuses various copy control schemes as a means to encourage customers to ditch their current PVR in favor of one of the company's $1000 set top boxes. If you do, all the DRM "problems" go away. This company throttles not only bittorrent, but also high bandwidth users as well despite the fact that "unlimited" bandwidth is what these customers are paying for. Cable company claims it is "network management" meant to protect the customer base and keep things fair, but it is obvious to me that everything is carefully aimed at protecting cable and maximizing profits. It is all very anti-consumer and the CRTC seems to think this behavior is ok. I would have dumped them already if it wasn't for the lack of competition in my area.

    Considering how much I pay and how I'm treated in return, I certainly don't feel bad about downloading TV shows anymore. Would happily pay a good internet start up monthly for VoD so long as the service had tons of content and the price was reasonable. Can't see it happening within my lifetime though, what with the monopoly execs out there having their collective heads up their asses. If I didn't channel surf as much as I do (I'm home bound due to illness), I'd ditch my cable service and just rely on bittorrent for everything.

    So sad, it's just like the music and software problem. I have the money and I'm willing to spend it, but not when it is overpriced, lacks quality, is full of DRM, and isn't in the form I truly want it in. This is why I won't shed a tear when the content industry collapses and look forward to all the newer, better business that arise from the ashes, hopefully having learned a valuable lesson. One can dream, right?

     

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  6.  
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    Michial Thompson, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 5:37am

    So because little mikee says so

    So little mikee, the fans of those four shows aren't happy that they are able to watch them anytime anywhere without the threat of Hollywood disconnecting their internet?

    In a market going in the opposite direction, shouldn't you be raving about them actually making progress in allowing you to watch what you want when you want WITHOUT having to break laws (oh wait infringe on copyrights)?

    I'd say having 4 shows I can watch without fear of a DCMA is better than having to risk having my internet shut off or wait a year for the DVDs just to watch what I want to watch is better than nothing.

    So little mikee even if there is a fee for watching them, I figure someone has to pay the cost of the bandwidth for streaming the shows over the internet.

     

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  7.  
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    Josef, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 5:38am

    Maybe I missed something...

    I'm not sure I get the point. I already watch the TV shows I want to watch online. Project Free TV has tons of shows for free. If not there, I can go to the BBC or NBC or quite a few other broadcaster sites and watch TV for free.

    So just why should I pay a cable company more for what Im already getting with their broadband service?

    I think the Cable Companies missed the boat just like the music industry did. They didn't think people would "discover" the internet at the rate they did, just like they didn't think people would find a use for those broadband pipes that they supply.

    You have to laugh at the irony of a company that supplies you a service with no idea of how you might choose to use it. I remember all the Comcast ads that would tell you you could surf the web a blazing speeds. Seems they had no idea that we would use those blazing speeds to watch streaming online content. I wonder what all those execs in the cable companies thought we consumers would do with blazing fast internet speeds? One big game of WoW????

    Newsflash: It's not going to get better. Focus on a FUTURE business model.

     

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    Tyanna, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 6:04am

    I think that the cable companies are taking the 'less is more' saying the wrong way....

    I recently moved to a new internet company from Canada's Rogers Cable highspeed internet. This new company charges me $40/month for 100GB of unthrottled bandwidth. When I called up Rogers to cancel, they did the whole huge song and dance trying to keep me. They eventually asked me what they could do to make me stay, I said offer me 100GB for $35/month and they said that wasn't possible.

     

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    Del Boy, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 6:20am

    Games up

    My entire grief with the media companies is this: They have never offered value for money. We pay them for TV channels which are HEAVILY fortified by long & frequent advert breaks. We buy bandwidth off them - which they throttle as & when they choose. And in the age of HD TV as standard - yes guess what thats extra & very limited. Technology has moved on and the media companies see this as another way to extort cash from us all, instead of just moving along with the technology like every other industry.

     

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  10.  
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    Overcast (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 6:45am

    Re: So because little mikee says so

    So little mikee, the fans of those four shows aren't happy that they are able to watch them anytime anywhere without the threat of Hollywood disconnecting their internet?

    In a market going in the opposite direction, shouldn't you be raving about them actually making progress in allowing you to watch what you want when you want WITHOUT having to break laws (oh wait infringe on copyrights)?

    I'd say having 4 shows I can watch without fear of a DCMA is better than having to risk having my internet shut off or wait a year for the DVDs just to watch what I want to watch is better than nothing.

    So little mikee even if there is a fee for watching them, I figure someone has to pay the cost of the bandwidth for streaming the shows over the internet


    And I can continue to buy $2.00 DVD's at the pawn shop - pay for neither and worry about nothing.

    Or just go to the library and check out whatever.

    No, they can keep the 4 shows, there's millions of hours of free video on the 'net anyway. Doesn't have to be something produced by 'big media' to be entertaining - YouTube's a good example.

    And I'm patient, there is lots made in the 70's, 80's, and 90's I haven't seen just yet, so maybe by the time I catch up, I'll worry about it.

    Oh no, wait I won't - just because of the prices and the huge piles of BS, I watch very little TV anymore - maybe, maybe... 4 hours a week, max.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Re:

    which cable company sells $1000 set top boxes?

     

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  12.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:50am

    Simple thought ....

    Why dont they look around and see what other people are doing that works and compete using the best parts of the other guys business models?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 7:54am

    We recently ditched cable TV. It was costing $50 a month and going up to $55, and it just wasn't worth it to us. We're with AT&T, and while the whole U-Verse TV/Internet/Phone package is pretty slick... well yeah, just not worth it. So we cancelled the TV and just kept the Internet. 18 Mbps and we can just torrent the shows we want. $100 for a decent DTV converter box and antenna so the wife can have some background noise during the day while at home with the kids, and we're good.

    Well and American Idol live when we think about it, otherwise just torrent that too.

     

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  14.  
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    kirillian (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: So because little mikee says so

    I think I may have you beat...I watched, I think, during the winter olympics this year, about a total of 4 hours spread into probably two weeks...and that's been my peak usage for years...I only watch things that I can get on Hulu rather than waste my time watching stuff on TV at weird, inconvenient times. Most nights, I watch nothing at all...but when I do, I want to watch the shows that I want. I have no desire to plan my week around a TV show.

     

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  15.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Agreed

    For most people, $40 to 50 a month is hardly a drop in the bucket. Many families easily spend $600 or more on groceries in a single month. A carton of cigarettes can cost $20 to $60.

    I'm not saying people are getting value for their money, but in the scheme of things, it's a minor expense.

     

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  16.  
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    Hulser (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:30am

    But it *is* adding value

    Mike, I hate to say it, but I think in this case, you're guilty of the same kind of logical trickery that you call other people on all the time.

    "The TV Everywhere supporters shoot back that they are increasing options by giving people access to their TV channels online, but that's only under very restrictive conditions that are more designed to keep you from cutting the cord from the cable company"

    In the above quote, you make a statement followed by a "but" which implies that the second statement will contradict the first somehow, but...it doesn't. The whole point of your post (based on the headline) is that the big cable companies are not adding value. But you state yourself quite clearly that they are in fact adding value by allowing people to view the shows in their tier on platforms other than a TV.

    Do I agree that their underlying motives are to tether the customer as much as possible to cable and that they should do more to embrace the options made possible by technology? Sure I do! I don't think I'd be a regular reader of TechDirt if I didn't. But making this kind of non sequiter argument does more to feed into the fears of your opponents than to support your arguments.

     

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  17.  
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    Vincent Clement, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    Which cable company is charging $1,000 for a PVR? You can get an HD PVR for under $500.

    It sounds like your $100 cable bill include cable AND Internet. Is that correct?

     

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  18.  
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    PRMan, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Re:

    As long as you don't end up with thousands in legal fees, it sounds pretty good.

     

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  19.  
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    :), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:37am

    Re: So because little mikee says so

    Or you can choose not to pay a dime, go to youtube and subscribe to hundreds of channels and see a lot more then just 4 series.

    Have you tried the PBS channel?

    NOVA is there, Wired Science too.

    Try the weboriginal channel on youtube and see if there is only 4 series LoL

    But youtube is not alone, there is blip.tv also that have attracted some webseries that are viral like "red vs blue", comedy have moved to the internet in a big way, if you like to laugh you don't go to the TV anymore.

    Those old companies are moving at glacial speeds while others are moving very fast and are making money on the way.

    Right now as a customer I'm being vicious and am not screening all licenses I see on the web, if it is not CC Commons SA NC at minimum that is something I'm going to miss.

    So little Tammy what you call improvement I see as a failing of an industry to adapt. This is a changing time and it will be painful, the industry may not survive but society will have to live with all that asnine thinking of these days for a long time.

     

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  20.  
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    :), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:47am

    Teaching the kids.

    One thing I like to point out, kids don't care where they view their cartoons, they get condicioned on a plataform and that is where they go to get their fix after.

    I was looking at cartoons on the web and one would be amazed to what you can find.

    Thousands of kid stories for free. with millions of views and even communities dedicated to translate them, probably the parents of kids nagging them to do so, so they can see them.

    Those kids are future viewers so where do those companies think future adults with money will be shopping?

     

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  21.  
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    :), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    Teaching the kids.

    Maybe that is why marvel has opened a channel in youtube.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 9:27am

    Re: So because little mikee says so

    So little tiny michiall, where I live Hollywood is unable to disconnect my internet. Hollywood will never be able to disconnect my internet.

    I watch what I want when I want and there is nothing that Hollywood can do, little tiny michiall.

     

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  23.  
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    Joel (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 9:37am

    TV won't fail.

    Elderly people won't let TV fail!

    Companies just need to understand that building the value of their service is much more important than trying to block everything else that exists.

    "If you learn to embrace technology you can make it work for you."

     

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  24.  
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    Rob.Etler (profile), Mar 24th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Hmmm, giving consumers MORE options rather than limiting them. I wonder how long until the MPAA and RIAA take notice? My guess is a before Hale-Bopp, but not till after Hailey's Comet.

     

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  25.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: So because little mikee says so

    > I think I may have you beat...I watched, I think, during
    > the winter olympics this year, about a total of 4 hours
    > spread into probably two weeks

    This is the perfect thing for an antenna, a $30 HD tuner and an otherwise mundane modern PC.

     

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  26.  
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    ike, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Ignoring illegal downloads as competition

    The TV Everywhere supporters shoot back that they are increasing options by giving people access to their TV channels online

    It's only increasing options if one presumes that TV channels aren't already available online.

    Maybe they're not, but pretty damn close.

     

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  27.  
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    Nicole Vega (profile), Jan 10th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    TV everywhere is valued by me

    I just ran across this article and must say that I've found that being able to view my TV everywhere has added value to my life. With Sling Adapter integration I can watch my favorite shows and recordings while I'm at the gym. This has saved me from being a couch potato and I'm thrilled! As a DISH Network employee I know that this is only a start and will soon progress to be the best in the industry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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