Why 'TV Everywhere' Is Bogged Down in Negotiations and Pacts

Illustration for article titled Why TV Everywhere Is Bogged Down in Negotiations and Pacts

When Time Warner and Comcast decided to make cable programming available online three years ago, it was a great idea. But currently, the project is swamped by failed deals, long negotiations and ongoing disputes. What went wrong?

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The Wall Street Journal reports that it's the slow, tedious negotiations that have been its downfall, along with a changing model of interaction between channels, cable providers and media consumers:

"[Apps] give networks the opportunity to be in direct contact with consumers, sometimes for the first time. That allows the networks to collect email addresses and other information about their viewers directly, and could eventually make it easier for channels to compete with cable operators-or survive without them.

"That potential for conflict has bogged down TV Everywhere's rollout, as cable operators and TV channels wrangle over whose websites and applications subscribers can use to watch shows online. For instance, News Corp . and Disney have so far insisted that they will include shows from their broadcast networks in TV Everywhere only if subscribers also can watch them through their joint-venture online-video site Hulu LLC."

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Hulu—and other similar services— however, seems to be feared among cable companies, as they're concerned about the competition. But that fear leads to more blocked content, less openness and, ultimately, inferior service for consumers. Sort it out, guys. [Wall Street Journal; Image: Shutterstock]

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DISCUSSION

pinkeyeofhorus
Pink Eye of Horus

I guess cable thinks it needs to compete w/ other services to keep as many people from using them as possible. Overall I think Hulu or any competing streaming internet TV has a long way to go to compete with the content and ease of cable. Off the top of my head: Live streaming sports, semi-live anything for that matter, local TV (without antenna or even switching inputs on the TV), easy interface w/ standard-ish remote. The point is, get a streaming service as close to the cable experience as possible, while still offering all the streaming services currently available. You can win people over now with what they're used to while introducing them to the new way of viewing content. I think the biggest hurdle would be sports, they would have to be near live but for other programs I think a day or two delay would be acceptable for most people. I think a feature that would draw people away from streaming would be a "channel surfing" mode. By this I mean: take the 24 hour "live"-aired shows from cable and broadcast them "live" in a channel lineup w/ guide just like the cable box. No need for a DVR because you could always watch anything streaming later, you could flag something for later. This could be done now w/ the current content and frequency of updates on Hulu, just presented in a different way. There's even room for commercials ;).