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TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go

Jeff Baumgartner
12/19/2011

News from the TV Everywhere front kicks off today's cable news roundup.

  • Following months of negotiating, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and corporate cousin Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) have struck a deal that will let the MSO offer HBO GO, the premium programmer's authenticated TV Everywhere service, along with the complementary MAX GO service. Time Warner Cable will start off with a brief beta trial and then extend access to all of its HBO subs sometime in January 2012. HBO GO offers more than 1,400 titles via broadband to PCs, iPads and other connected devices, with MAX GO pitching in 400.

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) COO Tom Rutledge quit "after a series of disagreements" with company President and CEO James Dolan, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed person familiar with the situation. Rutledge's resignation has sparked speculation that the MSO could seek a sale or try yet again to take the company private. (See What's Next for Cablevision? )

  • Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission dinged Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts $500,000 because Roberts failed to report 338,000 Comcast shares he acquired via his compensation and 401(k) plan. The organizations said the failure was apparently due to bad outside legal counsel, but noted that this was exec's third violation.

  • Avail-TVN has integrated VidScale Inc.'s MediaWarp software to provide federated, transparent caching and bandwidth optimization features for AnyView, Avail-TVN's TV Everywhere platform that relies on a hybrid fiber/satellite content delivery network. Lime, a unit of Cable & Wireless Communications based in the Caribbean, recently became the first service provider to deploy AnyView. (See C&W Lime Streams TV Everywhere with AnyView.)

  • Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) of Canada has introduced a beta of its live TV streaming app for home-bound iPads, starting off with access to 20 channels, reports CED. The MSO expects to launch the app commercially early next year, and follow with an Android version.

  • The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem LLC (DECE) , which counts Comcast and TW Cable among its backers, is rumored to be in talks with Amazon Web Services Inc. about having the Web retailing giant join UltraViolet, the consumer name for a digital rights locker that lets consumers buy DVDs and Blu-ray titles and access them online using broadband-connected devices. Amazon membership would let devices such the Kindle Fire access UltraViolet-compatible titles. (See UltraViolet Reviewers Sing the Blues .)

  • SureWest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW) is offering free speed upgrades to business customers in Kansas City following an upgrade to Docsis 3.0. Business customers that were getting a 10Mbit/s downstream have been bumped to 15Mbit/s. SureWest is also using D3 to offer new downstream tiers of 25Mbit/s and 50Mbit/s

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    msilbey
    msilbey
    12/5/2012 | 4:46:09 PM
    re: TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go


    Okay, so TWC is finally offering HBO Go. But what's the deal with Roku access? Will TWC allow it? And is Comcast ready to stop blocking it yet?

    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner
    12/5/2012 | 4:46:08 PM
    re: TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go


    I'd have to think they will provide access to the Roku app as well, unless they want the FCC crawling all over them. As for Comcast, don't be surprised if they end up offering HBO Go content via their Xfinity TV app on the Roku versus to help pacify all this "blocking" talk. But how soon? JB


     


     

    mtayer
    mtayer
    12/5/2012 | 4:46:07 PM
    re: TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go


    Less a technical issue than marketing/branding/control. Now that Internet video is going mainstream to the living room you can bet there will be a long drawn-out battle for control of the consumer interface, especially between the service providers and the content providers. Who's on first?

    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner
    12/5/2012 | 4:46:07 PM
    re: TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go


    Given how much blowback they got over HBO GO, I think Comcast will have to allow for both options so subscribers can authenticate on the HBO GO stand-alone app or via Xfinity TV. And there's been some evidence that there's a breaking down of that interface model, with Comcast's offer of Xfinity TV on the Xbox 360 coming (early next year?) as one example.  I also wonder how much of a battle is going on in those back rooms about this.  It wouldn't seem like such a huge technical hurdle for Comcast to allow subs to sign on to its own app as well as the network's home-grown app... so long as the authentication system does what it's supposed to do on either one.  JB


     




     
    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner
    12/5/2012 | 4:46:07 PM
    re: TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go


    'Tis the season. Cablevision announced Monday it has a deal to offer HBO GO and MAX GO, with service expected to launch "in the next few months." Cablevision estimates that HBO GO will be available to 98% of its HBO subs. JB


     





     




    msilbey
    msilbey
    12/5/2012 | 4:46:07 PM
    re: TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go


    It would make perfect sense for Comcast to offer the HBO Go content as part of its Xfinity app on the Roku. That way it doesn't deny its customers the content they've paid for, but Comcast still gets to keep control of the interface. Wonder how much biting and clawing will take place between HBO and the MSOs over whose official app should take precedence. Now that HBO Go is already in place with most operators, it seems like it would be harder to pull it back within an operator-branded environment.

    craigleddy
    craigleddy
    12/5/2012 | 4:46:06 PM
    re: TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go


    The Cablevision situation is more complex because, unlike other MSOs, Cablevision still charges for premium subscription on-demand services. If you want HBO On Demand or Cinemax On Demand, you pay $4.95 a month for each service, where other MSOs provide them as a free added-value service for HBO and Cinemax subscribers.


    So when HBO GO launches, will HBO On Demand customers keep their subscriptions? For its part, Cablevision says the TV Everywhere services are a "perfect complement" to the on-demand ones. This could provide a test of consumer preferences.  


     


     


     

    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner
    12/5/2012 | 4:46:06 PM
    re: TW Cable Gives HBO GO a Go


    That's an interesting difference in approach. But why would HBO on Demand customers drop their subscriptions when HBO Go becomes available? Won't that make having the VoD piece even more valuable?  Or are you saying that Cablevision customers that subscribe to HBO will also get HBO Go automatically whether they subscribe to the traditional VoD tier? If that's the case, I could see why they'd be taking an awful risk in seeing HBO VoD subs churn out... unless they just couldn''t do without having that type of content available to them on the set-top versus iPads.  JB


     


     

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