Cable Operators Continue Internet TV Talks

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Comcast and Time Warner Cable are still in the discussion phase with programmers about the prospect of offering "place-shifted" TV programming over the Internet to their video subscribers.

Both MSOs are in talks about offering cable TV programming -- for no additional charge -- to their existing video subscribers with media companies including Viacom, NBC Universal and Time Warner Inc., The Wall Street Journalreported Friday

As previously reported by Multichannel News, both Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as Cox Communications, are attempting to secure online distribution from programmers to provide content online (see Ops Seek Rights to 'Place-Shift,' Jan. 18).

The cable providers are looking to preempt defections by "cord cutters," a small but potentially growing segment of consumers procuring video content on the Internet and other non-cable sources (see Breaking Free, Nov. 1, 2008).

Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox refer to the concept of delivering TV over the Internet as "authentication," with their services designed so that only paying cable subscribers may view the programming and ensuring that the content cannot be copied, shared or posted to other Web sites.

Jennifer Gaiski, senior vice president of content acquisition for Comcast, said in a recent interview that every single deal the cable operator strikes now must include rights to carry the linear TV feed securely to subscribers over the Internet.

Time Warner Cable, meanwhile, has already been testing the "authentication" concept in Wisconsin with HBO. In that market subscribers to both HBO and the operator's Road Runner high-speed Internet service have the ability to watch the premium network's content online.

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