Mobile Video

Cablevision Eyes Out-of-Home Live TV Streaming

Thanks to rights issues and the limitations of existing programming contracts, TV Everywhere has so far been relegated to everywhere inside the home when it comes to the accessibility of an MSO's live TV lineup. Streaming live TV outside the home? Stay tuned.

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) COO Tom Rutledge says the MSO is in the process of eliminating that barrier for as many channels as possible as it tries to seal up the rights to stream live TV outside the home to iPads and other IP-connected devices. Some channels are already on board or talks to obtain those rights are at least underway, he said Tuesday on the MSO's second-quarter earnings call. (See Cablevision Profits But Loses More Vid Subs .)

"We are in active discussion with a variety of programmers," Rutledge said regarding out-of-home streaming rights. "Those devices are portable, and we are acquiring the rights to have an out-of-home service -- and we have acquired some of those rights."

He said Cablevision, which is coming under increasing pressure from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS, intends to package together what it can based on the rights it's able to obtain. As for a debut for an out-of-home live TV app, Rutledge would only say subs would get it "in the relatively near future." Cablevision, by the way, has already gotten some static from some programmers about the MSO's in-home iPad app. (See Cablevision, Viacom Fight Over iPad App.)

In the meantime, Cablevision today launched a version of its Optimum app that runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch, following an initial version tailored for the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad that the MSO introduced in April. It's also working on apps to run on Android products, as well as PCs and Macs. (See Cablevision Launches iPad App With 280+ Channels .)

Other nuggets from today's call:

  • Cablevision will launched its network DVR service in Nassau County, N.Y., this fall, and Suffolk County, N.Y., early next year. It's already up in the Bronx and Brooklyn, N.Y., and in the MSO's Connecticut systems.

  • The MSO intends to allow DVR Plus customers the option to get access to more network storage capacity. Cablevision execs didn't talk about anticipated pricing, but the current version of the service provides 160GB of storage for $10.95 per month. (See Cablevision's Network DVR Debuts in the Bronx .)

  • The MSO is testing an "enhanced" set-top user interface, which includes a new search capability and a VoD movie recommendation engine, with 50,000 customers.

  • Optimum Lightpath , Cablevision's Metro Ethernet services arm that targets large business customers, was a bright spot in the quarter as it posted a 9 percent increase in revenues.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:56:40 PM
    re: Cablevision Eyes Out-of-Home Live TV Streaming

    MSOs like Cablevision are trying to get these TVE conditions put into new contracts, and I suspect they'll have to pay a premium for that access, depending on the popularity and value of the network/channel.  These days TVE is being baked into the subscription as a value-add, but if msos are paying more for that access in some instances they'll of coure pass along those costs.  Would you be willing to pay extra each month for out-of-home access? If so, what would be a fair price? JB

    DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:56:38 PM
    re: Cablevision Eyes Out-of-Home Live TV Streaming

    I would pay extra if the service provider allowed me to download and store programs onto my devices in addition to being able to stream live TV outside the home.

    AT&T made an attempt at this model with U-verse but it obviously didn't offer enough value to get folks to upgrade their service to a more expensive channel package. 

    But the proof of concept is there and if enough content makers would allow for that kind of treatment of their shows, they'd have a HUGE pay TV retention vehicle, a source of new income and lots of happy consumers on planes, trains and waiting rooms.


    ladyluck 12/5/2012 | 4:56:38 PM
    re: Cablevision Eyes Out-of-Home Live TV Streaming

    Would you be willing to pay extra each month for out-of-home access? 

    Perhaps if it was something I could use when traveling, know that the picture quality would be worth it (no jitter), and that the selections of programming would be better than I could get in a hotel room.

    If I'm going to a friends house, I'll watch what they have on.

    If I'm in the car (driving) or in the air (as a passenger), I'm not watching TV unless it's on the screen of the seat in front of me.

    If so, what would be a fair price?

    I could easily see this going into tiers of usage: rare viewing, casual viewing, coach potato viewing...

    Would I pay a buck extra every month? Maybe.  Five dollars? No.

    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:56:37 PM
    re: Cablevision Eyes Out-of-Home Live TV Streaming

    At this point, TVE provisions have to be built into the new contracts. What's harder to know is how much more, if anything, that will cost. The MSOs won't want to pay much more than they are paying now, but they will probably have to pay some sort of premium to get those rights whether they like it or not.  Some of the new Turner deals are allowing out-of-home access to their live TV feeds, but agree that this won't work well if some nets allow it, while others don't.  You'll end up with a subset of channels that allow it, and that's sure to cause lots of customer confusion and angst. But it will take the larger video SPs like TWC, Comcast and Cablevision and the satellite guys to negotiate all this, blaze the trail, and establish some sort of template for others to follow.  JB


    ycurrent 12/5/2012 | 4:56:37 PM
    re: Cablevision Eyes Out-of-Home Live TV Streaming

    There is a chicken egg problem here. Despite what Cablevision ultimately wants to do, it is unlikely any video SP can do it alone. Requires broader industry coordination.  How could Cablevision charge subscribers to access TV Everywhere content everywhere, if there was a free (and legal) alternative available.  Programmers are not going to make one-off deals with each operator. Do networks move first (like Fox) and then have operators follow? Or do operators coordinate actions to get results?

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