Apple waits in wings as cable’s ‘TV Everywhere’ stamps out free

Apple Online Store“Once upon a time, not so long ago, a bunch of small companies in Silicon Valley thought the future of television was theirs,” Ronald Grover, Tom Lowry and Cliff Edwards report for Bloomberg.

“As the big picture comes into focus though, it looks like the cable guys are playing the lead roles, using the fees they pay content providers as leverage. Cable, satellite and telecommunication companies pay $32 billion a year, according to media research firm SNL Kagan. The alphabet soup of newbies is still waiting in the wings for a moment that might never come,” Grover, Lowry and Edwards report. “What happened? Part of the answer is TV Everywhere, a service in its infancy, conjured up in strategy sessions by Jeff Bewkes and Brian Roberts, the chief executive officers of New York-based Time Warner Inc. and Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. They took a lesson from the music labels, which looked up one day to find that Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. had taken control of their inventory.”

“The cable guys came up with a quick, technologically simple fix: Viewers can watch shows for free, but only if they’re cable subscribers first. As long as you tap a subscription code into your device — any device — you can watch anything you want, whenever you want,” Grover, Lowry and Edwards report. “It’s worth hitting pause here for a moment. Right now, Time Warner is offering the service in only a few markets. Comcast has rolled out a trial, or beta, version to about 80 percent of its subscribers, according to the company. There are plenty of kinks to be sorted out.”

Grover, Lowry and Edwards report that when “Apple CEO Steve Jobs began renting out TV shows online, the cable companies beat back that onslaught by beefing up their video-on- demand offerings and giving subscribers free shows with a few clicks of the remote.” Still, “TV Everywhere has a ways to go before the cable guys can declare victory.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “84 Mac Guy” for the heads up.]

18 Comments

  1. Cable guys want to sell subscriptions — because they can rake in insane amounts of money with it. Which is precisely why I don’t have cable TV — I know I’m being ripped off with it.

    I like iTunes and Apple TV; I pay for what I want to see, and nothing else. And I feel that the makers of the content I like are (or at least could be) fairly compensated with a business model based on iTunes/Apple TV.

    If I wouldn’t get the content on iTunes (or other legal channels) — well, there’s always the not so legal channels, where I get the content truly for free (cash-wise, there are other hassles attached to it). It’s not what I want to do, since I’m circumventing compensation of the makers, but if the big guys don’t give me any other choice, I am not above it.

    It’s the last point the big guys need to really understand: It doesn’t matter when their content appears on some legal online site a day after airing. It’s already out there for free. If you don’t offer it online, and try to get at least part of your money back, you will lose ALL of it.

  2. The cable TV model of paying a monthly subscription for all-you-can-eat video, is like subscribing to so much shovel-ware. Its akin to a Roman food orgy, replete with vomitorium. Why be charged for all that ‘bundled media’ that you’ll never, ever watch?

    With so many things screaming for our attention in this modern world, the video-on-demand model seems much better suited to today’s media-rich, mobile culture. Pay for what you want to watch, not what you don’t..

    Apple is creating a new video distribution model where all parties in the supply chain benefit, from content creators to content consumers. The iPad is poised to benefit from this emerging paradigm. TV a la carte anyone?

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