Britt: SVOD Will Remake TV Business


Washington -- Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt said Tuesday
that subscription video-on-demand would revolution the television business over
the next two decades.

'I'll make a prediction: I think this idea of SVOD applied to all sorts of
television programming will, over the next 15 to 20 years, completely change the
whole television business, the way it operates,' Britt said in a speech to the
Washington Metropolitan Cable Club here.

'It will start slowly, but I think it's really going to be revolutionary,' he

SVOD allows customers to buy a genre of programming for a certain period of
time -- say, 12 episodes of Home Box Office's Sex and the City -- for a
certain price.

Digital technology allows customers to call up the programming at will and
control use of it with VCR-like functionality, he said.

'It's what our business it all about, choice. I think this is the ultimate
version,' Britt said.

He added that his company plans to roll out Internet-protocol telephony later
this year after technical trials in Portland, Maine, and Rochester, N.Y., saying
that the technology 'offer us the least expensive way to enter the

However, the Baby Bells and wireless carriers represent tough competition, he

On Internet access, Britt said he lamented that cable operators had initially
been locked into exclusive deals with Excite@Home Corp. and Road Runner, but
business partners outside of the industry demanded such terms.

'In retrospect, I think it is unfortunate that the early noncable investors
in both @Home and Road Runner insisted on exclusivity in return for their
investment. But that's what happened,' he said.

Time Warner Cable is offering high-speed versions of Road Runner, America
Online Inc. and EarthLink Inc. in 26 of its 39 operating units, Britt said.

By the end of June, all units will be offering Internet-service-provider
choice. New regional and local ISPs are scheduled to be rolled out later this
spring, he added.

The additions of AOL and EarthLink accelerated growth by 20 percent to 30
percent in the first 20 markets through Dec. 31, 2001, Britt said.

'So we are not seeing cannibalization. We are having more customers,' he
added. 'Last time I checked, more customers was a good thing.'