Video services

TW Cable Unleashes 'Look Back'

12:00 PM -- Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has taken the wraps off of "Look Back," a new, ad-supported digital service that lets customers catch up on shows they missed within a three-day window of their original run. (See TW Cable Launches 'Look Back' .)

Look Back is the follow-on to TWC's "Start Over" service, which lets subs restart selected shows (those that the MSO has right for) already in progress. To keep advertisers and programming partners happy, Look Back, like Start Over, disables the fast-forward function. Other traditional trick-play functions such as rewind and pause functions remain in tact, however.

Look Back, in one sense, is a limited network DVR that plays nice with programming partners. Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is taking a much different approach with its Remote-Storage DVR by letting customers rent out server space on the network and manually set individual recordings. (See Cablevision's Ready for Streaming & Slinging and Cablevision Won’t Disable Fast-Forward on RS-DVR.)

In another sense, Look Back aims to help TWC compete with over-the-top options such as Hulu LLC , though access to Look Back, at least for now, is limited to set-top boxes. [Ed. note: TWC is developing a video strategy for iPads and other mobile video devices. (See TWC Preaches Openness With iPad Tilt .)]

TWC hasn't launched Look Back in all its systems, but does have it up in systems serving New York, New England, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, and portions of Texas.

Look Back is starting off with support for 48 channels (24 in standard-def, and 24 in HD), giving subs access to episodes immediately after they airs on linear channels.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Cooper10 12/5/2012 | 4:19:17 PM
re: TW Cable Unleashes 'Look Back'

I like the concept, but a little strange that the shows would come off of OnDemand after 3 days...if ads will still be intact, why not just make this a library function, where I can watch any of the episodes from the current season at my convenience vs. having to watch them within 3 days?

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:19:16 PM
re: TW Cable Unleashes 'Look Back'

I suspect the freshness of advertising in those shows plays a role in how long they're available for viewing.  Cable's starting to do some dynamic ad insertion with VoD, so that may eventually extend the shelf life of this type of Look Back content and maybe open up some opportunities so consumers can truly catch up on an entire current season. I also wonder if programmers and studios would be hesitant to leave more episodes up for an extended period because it could eat into the DVD distribution window. JB

msilbey 12/5/2012 | 4:19:02 PM
re: TW Cable Unleashes 'Look Back'

I agree there's got to be licensing issues at work. I'm amazed TWC has blanket coverage to capture all shows from ABC and NBC. CBS and Fox not on board yet.

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