More Like “TV Somewhere”

Cable operators are getting more and more connected to the idea of “TV Everywhere”. This is the idea that is meant to address the predilection of viewers to watch stuff on any device, while preserving the profits that cable operators, show producers and networks make.  Comcast, Cablevision, TimeWarner and Cox are all either in testing of or planning to roll out some sort of intiative to allow viewing to take place on any video-enabled device.   They are, says the LA Times, holding on to this idea, rather than play dice with Apple, which would like them to agree to a 99-cent per episode plan. “Some feared that Apple’s proposition would wreak the same havoc [as iTunes did to the music industry]  upon the average $70-a-month cable-TV customer.” TV Everywhere, on the other hand is free, as long as viewers are already cable subscribers.  The problem is that these roll-outs have not been incredibly successful so far.  For one thing, the authentification process is cumbersome –  Comcast subscribers find that “ it takes 11 steps to determine which cable programs an online viewer pays to receive. Comcast is trying to simplify this authentication process to a single click.” And of the major networks, only CBS is included in these trials, since the others are committed to Hulu.

“While the cable industry sees TV Everywhere as a way to offer subscribers broad access to programming online, others see a far more sinister motivation: snuffing out free online TV. Their fear is that the cable industry is determined to maintain its control as television gatekeeper, locking out competition. ‘TV Everywhere is just a tactic to keep people paying,’ said Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors, a media consulting firm. ‘The cable companies want more customers. They want to build a wall and penalize us if we don’t pay.’”

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