Light Reading

ABC Makes TV Less Free

Mari Silbey
1/2/2014
50%
50%
Repost This

Welcome to 2014. Please log in to watch your favorite shows!

In another move to restrict online access to broadcast TV, ABC Inc. will soon force viewers to sign in with their pay-TV credentials in order to stream on-demand content during the first week after a show airs on television.

The network posted information on the policy change on its Watch ABC website, along with a list of pay-TV providers participating as partners. Most of the major cable and telecom TV operators are on that list, but Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is a notable exception. DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) are missing in action as well.

ABC started down the paywall path last spring when it launched the Watch ABC app. The app makes live streams of ABC shows available on the Web, but only to authenticated pay-TV subscribers. (See ABC Joins Live TV Streaming Parade.)

The latest news from the network extends the authentication requirement to early on-demand viewing as well. ABC notes that users without a pay-TV subscription will still be able to access new content with a Hulu Plus account or by purchasing new episodes through iTunes or Amazon Instant Video. The new policy goes into effect on January 6.

The idea of making network TV free online has come under assault in recent years as broadcast programmers have grown to rely more heavily on licensing fees to supplement advertising revenue. (See 'Free' TV Model Under Threat.)

News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), which jointly owns Hulu LLC with both Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) (parent company to ABC) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), started locking up its online programming for the first eight days after broadcast back in 2011. As the trend continues into 2014, it will make the legal battles over Aereo Inc. even more interesting to watch. The more broadcasters restrict online access to TV shows, the more valuable Aereo's service has the potential to become. (See Aereo Fight Heats Up in DC.)

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading

(17)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/8/2014 | 8:58:57 AM
Re: Aereo
"Downhill" is a matter of perspective. Conventional video service delivery (via broadcast and dedicated video pipes) is a throwback to the pre-digital world. These methods continue to survive because a lot of companies and individuals make money from them. But we are now rapidly accelerating to a delivery model that better matches the technologies now available. This doesn't mean we're heading to a better place -- it's more likely that the disruptions that are now occurring will lead to a less friendly environment as far as end-users are concerned. But the good old days weren't really all that good anyway.
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/7/2014 | 7:32:56 PM
Re: Aereo
I am with you @Scott!  This is going downhill fast.  Back in the day, all TV was free if you could receive it over the air.  Now I bet every last broadcaster would like to eliminate over the air programming just to insure that everybody has to pay over and over for something that should be covered by commercials, after all that is why they force us to watch them and refuse to let us skip them even with on demand.  So basically, the fee for everything model is going to take off and FCC is going to be the one hurting not helping the consumer.  Oh my.
ScottEStewart0101
50%
50%
ScottEStewart0101,
User Rank: Lightning
1/3/2014 | 3:30:53 PM
Re: Aereo
Amazon customers have already felt the pain of Disney pulling their titles from streaming services during Christmas, because of licensing fees. Christmas titles of Disney movies were removed from Amazon customers whom had paid for the disney movies to be added to their streaming service. 

I see this going downhill very fast with our new FCC boss, whom is a former cable lobbyist. The chairman is speaking out of both sides when it comes to net neturality and carrier schemes to bit count bill content providers. 

It seems the only way to fight back is to get out of the pay TV model all together, and do with digitalTV which is free, and use a DVD recorder or something equivelant to EyeTV to record your shows for later viewing. Less convienient, but cost efficient. 

Just think if the music industry tried pulling this type of pay system switch on iTunes Match subscribers. 

brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/3/2014 | 12:59:16 PM
Re: Aereo
Carol,

Yes, it is a trend and a slow one.  I think Dennis has said the theoretical position.  If Disney can directly get the payment from consumers and advertisers, then theoretically can get more money per view.  This will create a huge shift in the content business, distribution channels and advertising.  My personal view is that this will be a generational shift and take a very long time.

For example, if you are in the content generation business you will source much less marginal content as they will not have to fill time slots.  This is bad news for actors and producers. 

seven
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/3/2014 | 11:52:44 AM
Re: Aereo
ESPN now gets close to $6 a month for virtually every video service subscriber in the U.S. The MBAs at ABC and the other OTA networks understandably see that captive-audience model as hugely attractive. So if Aereo or a service like it manages to get to critical mass, OTA will either go away altogether or be relegated to carrying low-value content. OTT paywalls are an inevitable part of all this, as Carol suggests.
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
1/3/2014 | 9:25:11 AM
Re: Aereo
I don't disagree with the shifts you are describing, but the reality is that big content providers like Disney/ABC get a ton of money from pay-TV providers and derive much less, as in millions less, from any OTT-based delivery. I think it is in their best interests, while business models for OTT evolve, to protect that bigger revenue stream for as long as that is a practical strategy. 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/2/2014 | 6:45:37 PM
Re: Aereo
 

Ah sorry Carol, I was thinking about forced carry when you typed retrans for some reason.

Yes, I realize what you are saying is true but I come back to the point.  The content owner - ABC - will search for as many people to pay them for their content as possible.  They don't care who pays as long as people pay.  They get paid in either case so the content owner doesn't care at some level.  What they are trying to do (I think) is to set rules in place to control their content.

Now your point about OTT versus cable is going to happen over time.  It is inevitable.  If you are Disney and can get paid directly by consumers and advertisers then why have a middle man.

seven

 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
1/2/2014 | 6:31:00 PM
Re: Aereo
The payTV companies - cable and telco - pay ABC and its affiliates to retransmit their content. The negotiations around these retrans deals have become contentious in recent years and the cost of retrans fees has actually driven some smaller IPTV providers out of the video business altogether. 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/2/2014 | 6:06:48 PM
Re: Aereo
Carol,

 

Does ABC pay the retrans fee or the local affiliate?

 

seven

 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
1/2/2014 | 5:48:39 PM
Re: Aereo
I think that given the continued upward spiral of retrans fees, ABC and other networks do care. I've thought for some time that it makes little sense for cable and telco video providers to be paying through the nose for content that is all too easily available online. It seems to me that if they are going to continue to get those big bucks from pay-TV providers, they have to make it a little harder to get the same experience online. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (6) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Analysts' Impressions of Huawei SoftCOM at ONS 2014

4|1|14   |   1:11   |   (0) comments


After visiting the Huawei booth at ONS, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research gives his appraisal of Huawei's SoftCOM solution.
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/15/2014
Cisco, Juniper Treating Gear Against Potential Heartbleed
Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, 4/11/2014
Cisco & VMware Are Apple & Google of SDN
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/14/2014
T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Mobile Apps Susceptible to Heartbleed, Too
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed