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Top Cablecos to Debut Online, On-Demand Shows in 2009


In recognition of the need to bridge the gap to the Internet, both Comcast and Time Warner Cable have now said they will make select programming available online to TV subscribers in the second half of this year. Comcast’s Karin Gilford promised as much in a recent interview with NewTeeVee about the upcoming “On Demand Online” service, and today Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes committed to a 2009 launch of “TV Everywhere” during the company’s quarterly earnings call.

The concept of having your cable service available anywhere you go has interesting implications for TV placeshifting. A vacation at the beach doesn’t mean a temporary loss of access to HBO. Waiting in an airport or a train station with Wi-Fi? That’s a little extra time to catch up on your favorite Showtime series. But even more interesting is the impact the new online model will have on traditional VOD. On the one hand there is currently a lot more flexibility in making content available on the Web. It’s easier to customize the interface and make large amounts of a wide range of content accessible quickly. On the other hand, the Web is still a small-screen viewing experience for the vast majority of consumers, and VOD gives you instant gratification on the big screen. Even more important, cable TV networks were designed to carry mass volumes of high-quality video, (relatively) free of interference, graininess, jerkiness, etc. The Internet, not so much. What trade-offs will consumers accept?

There’s also another interesting public perception issue at work here. Will consumers see the new online initiatives as free new features from their cable operators? Or as attempts to shift people away from the beloved (if economically impractical) model of free video on the Web? With premium channels like HBO and Showtime, I think the answer is the former. With other “basic cable” programming, I think it will come down to how well the experience is delivered and how well cable companies and content producers can make their case to the public.

6 Responses

  1. […] Top Cablecos to Debut Online On-Demand Shows In recognition of the need to bridge the gap to the Internet, both Comcast and Time Warner Cable have now said they will make select programming available online to TV subscribers in the second half of this year. Operator Plans for Mobile Broadband Even as cable and telecom companies gear up with 4G wireless broadband strategies, Wi-Fi continues to grow in popularity, and more operators are starting to use it to their advantage. […]

  2. […] the concept of converging the online and on-demand platforms is exactly what operators should be and are working toward. It’s also interesting to note that the move toward Web-like TV means going […]

  3. If they can provide content consumers want, on the devices they want to access it, at a fair price, how could consumer not love it. Whether cable companies are capable of meeting those three criteria is the real question. Past experience shows cabeco’s will not meet those criteria until the competitive landscape forces them too. Look at the typical dableco DVR – still a piece of crap, 11 years after the DVR was inventeed.! I certainly don’t expect cablecos to step up to the challente any time soon.

  4. […] access a cable TV signal on your PC or mobile phone, cable operators can bridge into the IP world (and are doing so today) to make sure their content is accessible beyond the TV. It’s one small part of how pay TV […]

  5. […] and Time Warner held a joint press conference today to announce details around the On Demand Online initiative. Specifically, Comcast will begin a trial next month to test out its authentication system and […]

  6. Cant wait for it to be available in my city. The idea sounds fantatstic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I havent seen any advertising.

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