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Bipolar Cable Industry Loves<->Hates Netflix; Britt Says It’s About Giving Customers What They Want

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WSJ Studios disarming cable in battle with Netflix Media Report 6-20-11.flv

Wall Street Journal: Top execs of some media behemoths are shifting their public stances toward Netflix Inc. of late. They’re now trying to persuade investors that the video streaming service will expand their business rather than destroy it. (4 minutes)

You are forgiven if you are confused about the love-hate relationship the cable industry has with online video streamers like Netflix — one that the Wall Street Journal likens to manic bipolar episodes.  Weeks after blaming Netflix for getting video programming too cheaply and threatening cable subscriptions, cable industry executives were hugs and kisses about online video at the recent Cable Show in Chicago.

“The reason why there’s interest in these Internet video providers that is that they’re deploying technology that’s making the experience better for consumers,” Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said in an interview with MarketWatch during the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual Cable Show last week.

“There’s nothing about [cable companies] that stops us from doing that. So I would say … we as an industry just need to pay attention and give consumers what they want. Then there’s no room for these other guys. I don’t mean to say that in a negative way, but it’s true.”

Britt

Of course, this is the same man that has earplugs firmly implanted to help resist another rejection of his Internet pricing schemes that Time Warner Cable customers loathed in 2009.  Britt’s desire to give “consumers what they want” just doesn’t play in this part of town while the cable company is installing software to measure and potentially meter broadband usage.

What is different in the online video spectrum is consumers have choices.  They can adopt Time Warner Cable’s glacially-slow rollout of its TV Everywhere concept, watch Hulu, use Netflix, or simply steal content providers don’t want them to watch.  For customers of Time Warner Cable facing competition from AT&T, there is potentially nowhere to run to avoid an Internet Overcharging scheme which could bring the online viewing party to a rapid conclusion when your viewing allowance is used up.

Britt says he is struggling with rights holders to provide more accessibility to online video streaming of popular shows.  He’s also thinking about how many restrictions to slap on subscribers.

MarketWatch talked with Britt and found him dealing with nagging questions about how many devices each user account should be authorized to use for viewing. “Should it be three, should it be 10? If I make [that number] too small, you’re not going to be happy as a customer,” Britt philosophized. “If I make it too big, you’re going to give the password to all of your friends, and they won’t have to buy a subscription to begin with.”

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  • CL: Exactly . ..they want cord cutters pay extra to make up for their loss of revenue for TV....
  • Nimesh: In New York City guys. I am on a Triple play with 50Mbps Internet + HBO + Single DVR for about $143. Pretty good deal except we don't use the Home Pho...
  • Limboaz: It's like if I order something online and get it delivered. It would be like UPS charging both the shipper AND the receiver for shipping costs. It's t...
  • Angel: I called TWC and they reduced my bill by $20 a month and they added DVR, STARZ, bonus channels, and upgraded my internet speed! Thanks for the help!! ...
  • James R Curry: For what it's worth, I've had Time Warner's 300mbps service for about a year, and it has consistently given me speeds of around 322mbps, which I can't...
  • Limboaz: A billion dollars seems like a steal when you consider how big Toronto is. Meanwhile the cable ISP's down here in the States plot how they can jack up...
  • sandiegohdtv: In another part of my town, Cox offers this program as well. However, they offer it all year round and I believe you can register for it online....
  • sandiegohdtv: Made a huge error. It was 15 mbps to 60 mbps. Sorry, for that as I thought the filing meant that, but I did check it over again. I found out when it w...
  • Phillip Dampier: It's a bit complicated depending on where you live and who serves you: Regardless of what we want, it is almost a certainty TWC's and Bright House'...
  • JayS: Could you clarify #1 & #7. It appears that the acquirer, Charter, only offers one (1) level of internet speed. I would expect they would unify al...
  • Phillip Dampier: You will end up keeping your existing modem for phone service only (at no charge) and your own purchased modem will supply Internet access only. It's ...
  • Phillip Dampier: This is likely because Time Warner management has curtailed some of their most aggressive promos this year, so the ones you can get now cost a little ...

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