Charter Communications is the latest
cable operator to test the “TV Everywhere” model, rolling
out a test trial of a multiplatform programming offering
last week to as many as 10,000 subscribers.
Charter’s not-yet-branded TV Everywhere package will
feature eight to 10 cable channels, including the recently
launched online channels from Turner Broadcasting Systemowned
networks TNT and TBS; Comcast-owned networks
Style, G4, and E!; and NBC Universal-owned The Weather
Channel, Charter director of product management Graham
The trial is taking place across the MSO’s footprint
and includes 5,000 to 10,000 Charter subscribers from
such cities as St. Louis and Madison, Wisc., as well as
smaller communities such as Chicopee, Mass., and Kennewick,
Charter cable customers who subscribe to packages that
include those channels will be able to use passwords to access
streaming video from the participating networks online
during the trial, Williams said.
While all trial participants are subscribers to Charter’s
broadband Internet service, Williams said that all of the
MSO’s video customers, regardless of Internet provider,
will be able to access the MSO’s TV Everywhere features.
Charter expects to run the trial through the rest of the
year before determining whether to go companywide.
“We’re really focused on trying to make sure that we can provide extended value to our customers
for being in a relationship with Charter, and being part of that is providing access to media content
that they otherwise would not be able to get,” Williams said. “What we want to do is continue
to take steps to offer more value to the customers and the trial is one piece of that.”
Charter also offers the ESPN3 event-centric broadband service to subscribers and last week
launched the multiplatform Epix, a premium movie channel owned jointly by MGM, Paramount
Pictures and Lions Gate Entertainment.
Charter joins such distributors as Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon Communications and
AT&T in testing the authentication-based model that allows paying cable consumers to watch TV
shows for free online, in an effort to appease consumers who want to watch their favorite shows
on multiple screens.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that our customers would like to access programming on their computers
in the home while their spouse or someone else is watching the TV or when they’re out traveling
on trips or about town,” Williams said. “The concept has resonated really well — now we just
have to put it into practice to see if the concept and the experience matches up.”