Mobile Video

TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road

Here a look at what's pushing the buttons of broadband and cable.

  • A new carriage deal between Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA) will let the MSO's customers stream the live feeds of BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, Spike, and VH1 via PCs whether they are at home or not. After a spat over access rights, TW Cable eventually got permission to stream Viacom content via the MSO's own app for iPads and Android devices that are within reach of the customer's home Wi-Fi network, but this new deal also lets subscribers access those channels on specialized TV Everywhere websites. TW Cable customers will need to log in using their TW Cable credentials. (See TW Cable, Viacom Take iPad Fight to Court .)

  • Aereo Inc. tweeted Monday night that "widespread DNS outages on the Internet" meant that its customers were having trouble accessing the company's site to stream live TV and watch content stored on the network DVR. The site appeared to be in working order again by Tuesday morning. (See Aereo Offers a Free Taste .)

  • U.K. operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) will launch a TV Everywhere service this fall that will feature 30 live channels and access to more than 2,000 hours of VoD, reports Digital TV Europe, noting that the MSO will offer it initially on iOS devices, with Android support coming online sometime in 2013.

  • YouTube Inc. has launched an app optimized for the iPhone (with ads), with one for the iPad in development. The new app, which will provide access to more ad-supported YouTube fare, replaces a system app from Apple that won't be included in iOS 6, states NewTeeVee.

  • Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s multi-screen Horizon TV service is coming online about a year later than expected, but part of that delay could be chalked up to the unusual order in which the platform was developed. Rather than starting with a box and working things out from there, the MSO opted to start with the user interface (NDS's Snowflake) and then pick out the manufacturers and other tech components, company CTO Balan Nair said at the IBC show in Amsterdam, according to Broadband TV News. (See Liberty Global Embarks on New TV Horizon.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:21:22 PM
    re: TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road

    Aereo passed along that the issues were simply about accessing the site (Aereo.com) and that they resolved them quickly enough that things were back online last night. JB


    Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:21:22 PM
    re: TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road

    Probably a bit of both, but I'd be curious to know how much of a premium TW Cable had to pay for those out of home access rights. JB

    AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:21:22 PM
    re: TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road

    Wonder if it's the subscribers who 'want their MTV' (and VH1 and Spike and Nikelodeon etc.) or the Viacom execs who now want to reach them, even on the computer. According to Nielsen (via Bernstein) there are fewer to start with: 3.8% down K2-11, and 1% down 18-49.  

    Cooper10 12/5/2012 | 5:21:19 PM
    re: TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road

    I'm guessing any incremental fees paid by TWC are just rolled into whatever annual % increae is baked into the carriage deal.  Breaking it out discretely would imply that a distributor could opt out (and pay less), and Viacom doesn't want that either.

    Also interesting that the networks are moving toward pay TV authentication on their direct to consumer sites in addition to the distributor sites.  It would appear that there is a trend toward networks beginning to move more online content behind a pay wall vs. "free" - reinforced by distributors making very clear that they have no intention of paying for content that is given away online for free.

    ethertype 12/5/2012 | 5:21:18 PM
    re: TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road

    Multichannel video programming distributors are still crucial for networks to maintain revenues.  As long as they prove they can keep subs and maintain high ARPUs, the networks will stay in bed with them and happily restrict TV Everywhere services to their high-paying subs.

    As soon as content providers figure out a legitimate way to replace most or all of that revenue with alternative distributors, they'll jump on it.  But Netflix-like models (all-you-can-eat for $8.99) don't even come close, so they will continue to be marginalized and contained to selected content niches.

    What I'd love to see is for Netflix to build a new "cord-cutter" service at around $40 that would have a decent live TV channel line-up + all the current streaming VOD.  They've already got their software in practically every box sitting near a TV.  They would have to go negotiate carriage with a bunch of networks and pay the going rate that MVPD's pay, but by excluding the really expensive networks like ESPN, which currently have the power to dictate "basic" channel line-ups to all the MVPDs, they could put together a package that's meaningfully different from what MVPD's offer and adequate for a large fraction of users to finally walk away from rigid cable/MSO/telco TV offerings.

    craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:21:13 PM
    re: TW Cable Takes MTV on the Road

    I think you will see a Netflix or other player try to sell a package of cable networks that excludes the more expensive sports services. But the economics will be tough. 

    Before the days of the almighty bundle, MSOs themselves attempted to market tiers for sports or other genres and it rarely went well. Some are still attempting it; Time Warner Cable offers a lower-cost, sports-free Essentials TV package. In a really unique experiment, Shaw Communications in Canada once enabled customers to select their networks a la carte through a Web-based menu system. 

    As "rigid" as the cable/telco/satellite packages may appear, it takes a lot for consumers to walk away from their incumbent service provider. As consumers, we love choice but then most of us tend to opt for the all-you-can-eat model. A la carte sounds great but it ends up being a serious marketing challenge.

    But I hope someone tries it so we can see what happens!    

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