Cable Operators

Charter Stirs Over-the-Top Video Into Website

11/07/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

So who’s afraid of Internet video?

Charter Communications is embracing over-the-top content,
with plans to provide search results for content available
on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu on Charter.
net mixed in with video available directly from the MSO.

“We want to offer folks a comprehensive and easy-to-use
experience for discovering all forms of content,” Mike Mc-
Mahon, Charter’s vice president of Web experience and application
strategy, said. “We’ve widened the definition a bit
perhaps compared with our industry peers.”

Charter plans to launch the integrated search in late November.
No money is changing hands between Charter and
Netflix, Amazon or Hulu, according to McMahon. “From
their perspective, we’re a
search engine, providing
eyeballs,” he said.

Charter.net will provide
embedded playback of Hulu’s
free-to-consumer content,
alongside its own authenticated
video services, which
include ESPN3, HBO Go,
Max Go, Epix and BTN2Go. The website also displays
listings from Charter’s linear TV and video-on-demand
services, with information on how to access that content
on TV.

For content on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus, Charter
will provide a link. “Our view is that those were the
leading sources,” McMahon said. “We were interested in
the ability to play back directly in a Web browser.” That
ruled out Apple’s iTunes, which requires a proprietary
application, he added.

As for other over-the-top services, Charter may consider
adding others, such as YouTube, into the search engine
in the future McMahon said.
“As we integrate more forms of cable content, and introduce
new devices … you won’t have to go piecemeal to
every site to do a search,” he
said. “It’s an agnostic view of
what’s available to you.”

Synacor, a provider of Web
portal and authentication
software, provided the integration
to bring Netflix, Hulu
and Amazon content into
Charter.net’s search index.

September