Hobbs: Business Rules Delay 'TV Everywhere'

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The chief roadblock to "TV Everywhere" -- the concept that pay TV customers should be able to access the content available on the television sets online -- isn't with the technology, Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Landel Hobbs told an industry conference Thursday, but rather the sticky situation of the business rules governing the service.
TV Everywhere is a concept that was first pioneered publicly by Time Warner Inc. chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes  and Time Warner Cable has been trialing a similar service with HBO in its Wisconsin system for months. Hobbs said at the Credit Suisse Media and Communications Convergence conference in Dana Point, Calif. Thursday that the second-largest MSO in the country is working with several other programmers concerning TV Everywhere.
"The hard part is not the technology," Hobbs said. "The hard part is putting the business rules around it, which is really from the programmers' perspective. We would be advocates of authenticating not only whatever Web site of the programmer, authenticating on a lot of different Web sites so it's good for the customer. So if you're a paying subscriber to cable, satellite or telco, not only do you get a little content, you get all of the content. But the programmers have to put business rules around it. That's where the heavy lifting is going to be."
Hobbs explained that while the basic business model is clear -- only subscribers to pay TV would get access to the programming -- there are other gray areas surrounding the concept.
"How many simultaneous users do you allow before you cut them off, because maybe a college kid is giving away his password to everybody on the dorm floor?" Hobbs asked. "What content stays in front of the curtain versus behind the curtain? Those are the business rules that need to be discussed."

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