Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, Hump Day edition.
Google's YouTube Inc. unit is set to sell subscriptions for individual streaming video channels this spring in a move that could steal away eyeballs and dollars from traditional pay-TV players, reports Ad Age. The publication said the first slate of paid channels will cost in the range of US$1 to $5 per month, and that YouTube will supplement the new effort by charging for libraries of content and live pay-per-view events. Google responded to Ad Age with this statement: "The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we're looking at that." The possibility of new YouTube distribution models comes into play as some cable operators, including Time Warner Cable Inc., start to drop poor-performing cable networks. (See The New Bandwidth Management Tool.)
Going pure over-the-top (OTT) will eventually turn into a cost-effective distribution model for many small, less popular TV channels, says IHS Screen Digest, in a new report. In an analysis of the U.K. TV market, the report found that 134 of the country's 192 "major" channels could afford to go OTT-only in five to ten years, while the rest have big enough audiences that make a pure-OTT play cost-prohibitive. The report estimates that the 134 OTT-only candidates would need to carry a weekly content delivery network (CDN) cost of €10,000 ($13,542) or less -- and so long as those TV streams were delivered in standard-definition format.
Charter Communications Inc.re-upped its carriage deal with CBS Corp. and its siblings, including Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network and Smithsonian Channel. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but the deal does pave the way for Charter to offer CBS primetime shows via its video-on-demand platform and Showtime Anytime, the premium programmer's authenticated TV Everywhere service for PCs, tablets and other connected devices.
Columbus International Inc., an operator with more than 500,000 customers in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, is the first MSO to announce a deal to deploy Sigma Systems' CloudService Broker, a software- and infrastructure-as-a-service platform tailored for small and medium-sized businesses. Columbus, by the way, already uses Sigma for the provisioning and activation of its IP-based services. A Sigma spokesperson says another 14 operators are in talks about launching CloudService Broker, a service that the vendor launched in late 2012. (See Sigma Launched Cloud 'Service Broker'.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable