Atlanta— Time Warner Cable plans to add a “Quick Clips” short-form video feature to its on-demand offering, hoping to cash in on the increasing amount of content programmers are creating for broadband Web sites.
The cable-system operator plans to launch the service May 1, with video clips from CNBC shows, executive vice president of product management Peter Stern said in an interview at the National Show last week.
He said Time Warner Cable is in discussions with four to five other programmers about bringing short-form video and content created for their Web sites to the company’s television-on-demand platform.
KEY NEW OUTLET
“The programmers are developing short-form content for Web sites,” Stern said. “We’re giving them an additional outlet to deliver that content to the TV. It’s where most people go to watch video.”
CNBC owner NBC Universal hasn’t determined what content to provide, said J.B. Perrette, senior vice president of NBC Universal Cable. But the programmer is intrigued by the concept.
“It’s a pretty cool function for real timely content,” Perrette said. “It blends interactive television and VOD together. It helps create stickiness.”
More and more cable programmers are adding video content to their Web sites, and several have created separate broadband channels on the Web, such as MTV’s Overdrive service and Comedy Central’s Motherload from MTV Networks, Trio Plus from NBCU’s Bravo and Scripps Networks programming on HGTV.com and Food.com.
Programmers also have created broadband content packages sold directly to cable and telephone companies for their high-speed Internet services, such as ESPN 360 and Disney Blast.
Only Verizon Communications Inc. and some smaller cable companies are carrying the ESPN360 and Disney content, save for a Disney Blast deal with Comcast Corp.
Programmers have determined that cable companies do not want to pay extra for carrying those services. Stern said Time Warner Cable is open to that concept.
“We’ll consider subscription services” for Quick Clips, Stern said.
Stern said Time Warner Cable, the second-biggest U.S. cable firm, plans to distribute Quick Clips content to on-demand video servers through its national fiber network. Content would be on the operator’s servers within 15 minutes of entering the network, Stern said, which is important for the timely news clips CNBC likely would provide.
Stern said Time Warner Cable’s new Navigator guide, which it will roll out later this year, will link a cable programmer’s linear channel to its Quick Clips and video-on-demand programming.
In the past, cable subscribers would tune to a separate channel to see Time Warner’s Food Network On Demand lineup, for instance, according to Stern.
ENHANCING THE NET
With the new guide, viewers will be able to press an “Enhanced TV” button on the remote control while watching a network’s scheduled programming and see links for Start Over; Quick Clips; the high-definition feed of that network, if it exists; its on-demand lineup; and, eventually, Look Back, all while staying on the “linear” channel, Stern said.
That’s important for programmers that want to drive viewers to the scheduled channel to boost ratings and advertising revenue, he said.
“It helps change the navigation paradigm and enhances the linear version,” Stern said.
NBC creates video clips for its Web site from the standard video it produces for its television networks. “We don’t know yet” whether CNBC will use “Web” video, which originated as television video in its editing suites, or use clips created for traditional television, Perrette said. “But the concept is a great one for us. We’re always looking for new ways to cut content.”