TV Everywhere is a concept put out by TV distributors that basically says that if you pay for cable or satellite, you should be able to watch the content you want, where you want. Everywhere. To some people this is not a good idea. As is always the case, many people think tv programming should be widely available for free on the internet. Of course the content is never free. Someone has to pay to create it and we purchasers of cable and satellite services pay the subscription fees that pay the content companies and allow them to create all that content. Someone always must pay for free. Its unfortunate that there are some incredibly greedy people who think their entertainment needs should be subsidized. We aren’t talking healthcare, we are talking The Simpsons. No one in the country has the right for their Simpsons to be subsidized.
Those of us who pay for cable and/or satellite really shouldn’t care if there are people who want to “cut the cord” and discontinue paying for their programming services. Those of us who pay our bills to cable and satellite should be all over TV Everywhere because it has the potential to be a HUGE VALUE ADD . In fact, if you pay money to your cable or satellite tv provider, you should be demanding TV Everywhere be implemented quickly in your neighborhood.
Let me ask you a question. Is there any bigger hassle than trying to get the content you want to watch on to the device you want to watch it on ? Try getting last nights episode of your favorite show on to your ITouch or laptop to watch on the train or plane. You cant do it unless you want to go through a huge hassle that is not worth it. Try streaming a live feed to a mobile device. Huge Hassle.
Back in the day it was ok to be forced to be tethered to our PCs in order to watch content. Watching on our PC was an incremental convenience we didnt have before. Being limited to watching on a PC was acceptable. No longer.
The true value of TV Everywhere is not that our TV distributors will let us watch the shows we already pay for on our PC. It’s a given that they will. The true value of ‘TV Everywhere is that they will take all the hassles out of enabling us to watch TV …..everywhere.
I want Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, Charter, etc to take the responsibility of making it easy for me to put the content I pay for on any device I want to watch it on. Ipod, Itouch, Zune, Laptop, whatever device I own that can play video, I want my provider to make it easy to happen. Now.
I want to be able to easily copy my favorite shows from my DVR to a flash drive and watch those shows from my laptop on the airplane. I want you to be able see my Itouch on the Wifi Network in my house and make it ok to move shows on to it. Then I can take it to the gym and catch up on my shows while I work out. I dont care if you do like Rhapsody does for music subscriptions and make sure that Im current on my bill with you. That is fair. But its your job to make sure that any content I buy from you can be moved to any device I want to watch it on.
I recognize that its a lot of software , a lot of work, a lot of investment and not necessarily easy. That’s your problem.
I want my TV Everywhere, and I want it now !
57 thoughts on “Why You Want TV Everywhere – Now”
We should all be reading poetry by candlelight anyway…
Comment by okathleen -
I realize this is not the best place to solicit an idea, but it does give me an entree to you. I’m representing a company that is in interactive TV advertising. They have a proven technology and solve the number one problem advertisers have, how to get more people to watch ads and how to get greater brand awareness. With this company, you would get “paid” to watch commercials on your favorite shows. People want to be interactive (think of the 50 million votes on American Idol each week). I look forward to your response.
Comment by ta11grass -
I got the Slingbox HD earlier this year so I can watch games while on the road and it is awesome! Like you said Mark you can’t save the content so you have to have a connection but even over WiFi it’s not bad!. The only problem that I have sometimes is the buffering depending on the speed of the network I’m on.
The initial cost upfront was minimal in my opinion and after using it I can’t see myself paying extra outside of my cable costs to get a similar service!
Comment by shammons1 -
OMG Jason Terry has his own song!!!!
Fans are posting video’s on youtube of them dancing to it:
Yahoo(sports) and Dime magazine,amongst others, have already written articles about it. I hear he might debute the dance tomorrow at open practice.
Google “Do the Jason Terry” & “Do tha Jason Terry” and see how many articles pop up!
As the biggest Die hard Mavs fan ever, you have to play this!!!! It might be just what we need to when that championship ring. =)
Comment by desotomavs -
I think your right Mark. We all pay a hefty bill for TV/Cable. Why should we not be able to watch it anywhere we so please? I’d love to be able to catch some of a game on my iPhone. Especially if I’m somewhere and I can’t catch the NYRangers game. As long as your paying for the service I see no harm. I’m sure that’s the concern though. People figuring out how to exploit the TV Anywhere system…
Comment by performancepartsj -
I think your right Mark. We all pay a hefty bill for TV/Cable. Why should we not be able to watch it anywhere we so please? I’d love to be able to catch some of a game on my iPhone. Especially if I’m somewhere and I can’t catch the NYRangers game. As long as your paying for the service
Comment by performancepartsj -
This is great and I would love to have TV Everywhere as well. However, the challenge for MSO, Telco’s, Sattelite companies is the business model. No one has been able to make money on online video as the online advertising model hasn’t worked to date. YouTube, even with its dominance in online video, is estimated to lose $1 million each day.
True, you can charge for the TV Everywhere service but the question is can you charge enough. Or in other words, how much are consumers willing to pay? Is this going to be enough to make a profitalbe service. Video is such a bandwidth intensive product, the network requirements to offer a TV Everywhere service is extensive. Servers, caching, routers, switches, data centers, etc. and the costs are significant.
In the words of a TV exec discussing online video…’we are trading analog dollars for digital pennies’. Until a profitable business model is determined, TV Everywhere will be a niche service with limited video and distribution.
Comment by slheinlein -
Thank you for the post and for your comment about how much it costs to produce a TV show. It needed to be said. Because for someone to feel that $1.99 is expensive to download, say, an episode of “House” or “The Simpsons” or “30 Rock” or any brilliantly written and performed 30-minute or one-hour program is astonishing. That’s less than the price of most cups of coffee.
When you think of the imagination, hard work, and sheer dollar amounts that go into the creation, selling, writing, directing, talent, production, marketing, and distribution of any TV program –and scripted hour-long dramas filmed on location are really up there — it’s small wonder that the entertainment industry is obliged to find a revenue stream capable of paying for it.
You are right — nothing of value is free. Unless it’s been stolen. In the old commercial broadcast model, we paid by the presence of frequent advertising interruptions. Happily for consumers, there are now alternatives. That’s fair, as long as the entertainment provider can still find a way to make money. And I don’t mean a greedy, disgusting level of profit, just a healthy business return. With all the resentment of corporations duly acknowledged, consumers need to think about what would happen if enough advertisers fled the medium or drastically reduced what they are currently willing to pay to sponsor quality programming.
The cost of premium entertainment would skyrocket, and we could find ourselves with nothing left to watch but cheaper-to-produce reality fare and user-generated content. Not that some of it isn’t fun stuff, but I think we can all admit to loving a good story well told.
What troubles me most about this discussion is the disturbing trend of entitlement that you touched on in your post. I admit to a certain bias as a content creator, but that said, I’m sincere in my belief that we’re lucky to get for $1.99 what some risk taker paid $2 million or more to create. And the only reason we’re able to get such a bargain is if millions of other people are willing to do likewise.
— Marci Montgomery
Comment by storiapix -
Until the TV Everywhere business model is deployed (and it will be, eventually)I have found that Slingbox works quite well. For instance, today I am sitting in my hotel room in Beijing China watching all of my favorite new fall shows on my PC that were recorded this week on my DVR at home in Los Angeles. Through Slingbox I can access my home DVR from anywhere in the world as well as watch live programming. For it to work you must leave your tv on at home. They now also have a new app for the iphone too! This might work for you until TVE is launched!
Comment by karenksn -
I am in education and have spent the last five years teaching undergraduates public speaking. There is definitely worth in having televised video streaming at our finger tips, but I currently have trouble preventing students from texting during class; I couldn’t imagine the difficulty of getting them to break away from a televised marathon. Could mass lethargia ensue? I know that watching episodes of 24 have become quite similar to peoples description of crack cocaine…I just need one more…what would that do if it was something I could access anytime, any place?
Just some food for thought.
Comment by canamgirl -
The recent announcements by the FCC that they will try to formalize net neutrality rules in the U.S. is good news for this. Of course, the companies involved are also major ISP’s and the timing of this is interesting… I could be way off on this as I’m not really familiar with current pricing and restrictions by these providers, but could they perhaps be planning a highly tiered cost structure for bandwidth usage, with the price of high or no capped accounts/bundles going way up? Not a bad thing, mind you– those who use more of a resource should pay more for that resource, IMO. Was just thinking that was possibility for where profit could come from; maybe it is not all about keeping people from cutting the cord… with net neutrality formalization and the way usage trends have been going, ISP’s may perhaps have to do this anyways and this could be a excellent bonus/incentive to offset bad feelings over a price hike for these providers. Still, a great idea I believe! And I hope this post made sense, haha.
Comment by bucfanpaka -
Excellent idea! Now people can become Zombies where ever they go!
Comment by stuffblackpeople -
Mark – I apologize for this approach but wasn’t sure how else to contact you. I am Ed Barr and I teach at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I recently was introduced to someone that I know you can help, Chad Varga. If the name sounds familiar, he played basketball at Pitt in the late 90’s. He was offered a tryout by the Mavs but broke his hand and went to Europe to play. He left a great career and great money to help kids. He was motivated by his own life story, which goes something like this: Chad suffered an agonizing childhood. His mother, an alcoholic and drug addict, came in and out of his life for 18 years, often leaving for a year at a time to pursue her addictions and lusts. When she did show up, she often took Chad and his sister, Wendy, to crack houses in dangerous neighborhoods where unspeakable practices took place. One night, in desperation to protect her alcohol, she stabbed Chad because she thought he had poured out her drink. As a child, Chad watched his mother’s boyfriends beat her and tried to protect her, only to be beaten himself. One year he and his sister and father drove from Michigan to Ft. Worth, Texas, so that they could visit her in a federal prison where she was serving time for running drugs from Venezuela.
Despite having moved 17 times in the first 18 years of his life, Chad found himself growing very tall and developing a talent for basketball. He became one of the nation’s top prospects at Detroit Catholic Central High School and was soon fielding scholarship offers from the top universities around the country. Chad eventually chose to enroll at the University of Pittsburgh a national powerhouse. Chad was voted team captain and was nominated as a pre-season All-Big East selection by different media outlets.
After his senior year he was offered a with the Mavericks, but he broke his hand (in a fight with a man who was abusing his
mother) prior to training camp and instead went to Europe to play.
One evening, at the height of his professional career and success, Chad asked himself what he intended to do with his life. At age 25, with fame and adulation, and a six-figure salary, at the peak of his career, Chad walked away from basketball to a greater need, children at risk. He returned to the United States to begin a service to help young people who face the same circumstances as he did. Chad started a non-profit organization, “Inspire Now,” to help transform teenagers. It exists to equip teens to become better individuals, people of character who will serve their communities.
Can we talk to you about ways to help Chad help kids? If so, please contact me at CMU at email@example.com or call me at 412-952-5106. Thanks!
Comment by edbarr -
From MC> Advertising is a “prayer sale”.
Thanks again for responding Mark, I totally appreciate you taking the time to be available here.
I like this angle of the prayers sale and I agree…for some business.
For a production company like the one that puts out Mad Men, or Heroes for instance, or even for ESPN,however, I think advertising may be more effective than relying other forms of partnerships or by relying on people to subscribe.
In many cases, and especially in the biggest cases, the prayer is more likely in the hands of the advertiser for the in-demand content – the desperate housewives of the world – can command excellent sales rates while picking and choosing from the advertisers who line up because they want to be there. This is the opposite of a Prayer Sale, its more like a free Whole Foods spree.
I’m not intending to promote advertising, but its not just Google. The top 10 websites on the internet (aside from Wikipedia which is free) *depend* on advertising for their survival and successes. On the internet, it seems no other business model even comes close.
In particular, I assume that TV Everywhere would not be monetarily feasible with out the support of advertising. So Im going to go out on a limb and say that if it is a prayer’s sale, it is for TV Everywhere too.
Comment by andrewbaron -
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“We aren’t talking healthcare, we are talking The Simpsons. No one in the country has the right for their Simpsons to be subsidized.”
lol, that won me over. Well said Mark!
Comment by sproles134 -
@MC: Mark, you said responding to me “From MC> Not true. They have to support the maximum amount of bandwidth to be consumed.”
First, you are much more an expert on this, but help me understand.
In my gas station analogy, the content provider builds a big enough pipe so that if there are a dozen vehicles filling up at the same time, everyone get’s gas (with little or no noticeable loss of pump performance).
There are 3 octanes at each pump. Built into each is the cost of the widest pipe necessary to supply the fuel to each pump.
This I understand and accept (on the ISP side too).
But on the Cable TV side, why is it that I have to pay for the widest pipe (also acceptable) but I also have to pay for 300 variations of octane (content) when I only want or need 30 of those?
Comment by just2words -
From MC> because the price per tv network would go through the roof if you got to pick them one at a time. And as far as the size of the pipe, w gas stations people will wait in line. Could you imagine waiting till enough bandwith became available to get to Youtube or some website you like ?
Comment by markcuban -
MC, you responded to my comment above with “From MC> Unless the creators of that special interest , education or political content are stupid, they can always choose to make it available for free on the internet. Thats their call. Or they can try to sell it, recognizing it could limit distribution. Thats real world. It has nothing to do with TV Everywhere. Its just one more “internet red herring”
If you have a specific argument as to why advertising wont work, lets hear it. Straight up.
From MC> Advertising is a “prayer sale”. You pray you can get someone to buy it. Then you pray that you meet their expectations from the sale because you really have no idea whether your ad will truly impact the customers business any more than any other. If it was anything else, you would guarantee results to the customer buying the advertising. How often do you see that happen ? Because its a prayer sale, the customers are always looking for a better solution and alternatives. So its possible for companies to make a living selling ads if they hit a really strong formula. Google , for now, is an example. But they are the exception that proves the rule.
Comment by andrewbaron -
I would like to see you blog regarding where ‘free’ came from and how it all started.
This concept of everything becoming ‘free’ does not make sense. How does the idea leak into the public and then people expect it.
Comment by starwinar -
Free = streaming with ads, hopefully targeted by user preferences or analytics. Allow fast forward/rewind, just put a split second graphic of the sponsor.
Pay per season of a show, say around $10-$12 a season (12-24 episodes). Streaming without commercials the first 6 hours, download version available afterwards – the shows will already be available to pirates by then. Access to previous seasons and/or watch the next few upcoming episodes. Significant discounts for dvd/blu-ray versions when available.
Standards based streaming so third party software/hardware can pull content (tvs, dvrs, pc, mobile etc)
From MC> do you realize how much it costs to produce an episode of a tv show ? Your typical CSI show can cost 2mm or more per eps. So under your formula, they would have to sell 3 to 6mm copies (remember the retailer gets their cut) of EACH AND EVERY SHOW. That aint gonna happen. What you see now online are library shows that have already played out, shows that have already run and shows that need promotional help. You havent seen any shows with a significant 2mm plus per eps investment made available online. The best performer, dr horrible, was done as a low cost deal. Those are one offs. in your model, the best you would ever get in unique content is the stuff you get on youtube now
Comment by floydcohen -
@rossbaird: This is a fantastic idea. I think entrepreneurs would have a great sense about what to invest in and would be a valuable contribution to the decision making process. I certainly have a unique perspective vs. what an investor comes to the decision table with.
Both views, as well as others would add value both the discussion and decision process.
Count me in.
Comment by just2words -
The comments around ideas like this always lead to good suggestions. Which makes me think. I work for an entrepreneur-led VC firm and we often brainstorm around the office about the difference between entrepreneurs and investors. Do you think that entrepreneurs have a better sense of what projects to invest in?
We have been brainstorming a model where we’d front an available pool of capital to a group of entrepreneurs, and they’d decide/select among themselves who got investment. What do you think of a model like this?
Comment by rossbaird -
@MC (from MC) should the same concept apply to your ISP bill as well ?
I get your point, but bandwidth is different than content. Let’s use gasoline as the example.
In the gasoline example, I pay more for better content in the form of Premium gas which is how it should work.
But when I fill my tank with 1 gallon of 87 octane, I do not have to pay for 1 gallon of 89 octane as well as a gallon of 93 octane even though all three are brought to the pump nozzle. The price of the infrastructure is built into each octane, but I still have the choice.
In the case of my ISP, they provide the pipe only, one which supports in theory the highest speeds to support the bandwidth of the most intensive bandwidth sites.
From MC> Not true. They have to support the maximum amount of bandwidth to be consumed. So if the ISP offers an unlimited bandwidth account on a 10mbs feed, they need to have enough bandwidth to support all the people who will use those 10mbs to stream from a site you will never go to, multiple HD video feeds to multiple TVs in their homes. You are subsidizing that. You have to because if your ISP cant handle that capacity in your neighborhood, there is a very good chance your throughput speed is going to slow to a crawl.
But too I have a choice to pay a smaller amount which supports lower rate, or I can pay a higher amount to accommodate higher rates. That’s fair, even if we assume they built into all price points the infrastructure which supports all of rates.
Comment by just2words -
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Mark, I’d first like to pay for only those channels I want … vs. what you or the cable operators think I want. I should not be forced to buy stuff (read, subsidize) I don’t want, will not use or care about in the least.
You’re proposing a great idea, TV Everywhere … but I don’t want ALL TV Everywhere, just MY TV Everywhere.
From MC> should the same concept apply to your ISP bill as well ? You do realize that your monthly bill subsidizes the bandwidth capacity your ISP needs in order for some of their other subs to access high bit rate sites that you will never go to , right ?
That if they only supported the high bit versions of your favorite websites, their capacity requirements would be lower and they could charge less. (im not saying they would charge less, but they could) ?
Comment by just2words -
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Adding further to boscoh re UI:
I’m a triple play Comcast subscriber so I also feel your pain – agree 100% cable box UI sucks – at first it was because cable guys didn’t put in scaling video chips into the low-end boxes, so you only had a DOS/text type experience. Then you had the Gemstar patent issues that dominated the grid display of programming info. A number of variations around that have been in the market for years, from Paul Allen’s Moxi box offered via Charter to Cablevision’s pillar grid display, etc. but even if the Apple’s of the world improve the UI you’re left with a fundamental issue re: visually navigating episodic TV. How do you visually differentiate the 13-22 episodes of a particular show season? Movies are easy since the poster art represents the brand in a single image. Even the UI innovators such as Hillcrest Labs haven’t figured out the solution to this easy navigation issue – of course you can read the preview text, but at the risk of ruining the drama of the storyline in advance – managing the intelligence about which episodes I’ve seen and haven’t seen is going to be way beyond the capabilities of the cable guys for many years to come, unfortunately.
Comment by mistahmediaguy -
Mark asked: Let me ask you a question. Is there any bigger hassle than trying to get the content you want to watch on to the device you want to watch it on ? Try getting last nights episode of your favorite show on to your ITouch or laptop to watch on the train or plane. You cant do it unless you want to go through a huge hassle that is not worth it. Try streaming a live feed to a mobile device. Huge Hassle.
I disagree. Take Rescue Me… I bought the season pass in HD from iTunes. $55. Every Wednesday morning, it’s waiting for me. I plug in my iPhone, it syncs up. Bam, I’m gone. If I want to watch in HD, it’s a click away on my Mac Mini in the living room or Apple TV in the bedroom.
The cable boxes are the things that suck here Mark. It’s not a CE problem, it’s a UI problem. It won’t be solved by Sony or Motorola, but by Apple or Microsoft.
From MC> If you only have one TV and you only watch one show, you are exactly right
Comment by boscoh -
Isn’t that what slingbox does?
But I couldn’t agree more – why does there need to be a slingbox. I want it here, there and most importantly – now.
Comment by tomaltman -
The cable guys will not make this a consumer friendly service. Five years ago, the guys who delivered the service you’ve just described you want is Dish Network, which allowed you to port everything off your DVR with a consumer friendly UI to an Archos device for viewing at a later time.
Contrast that with Comcast and Panasonic’s lame portable DVR device launched 18 months ago, that was the size of about 5 stacked Kindles and was quickly scrap-heaped.
Look at Comcast’s VOD service – you can only fast forward at 1x normal viewing speed! Doesn’t matter if you’re watching a movie, or HBO, or ad supported TV, they put a governor on your remote because their network infrastructure was not designed to handle the way consumers want to consume content.
Pushing the content out to the device is usually the best consumer-solution when it comes to video consumption, because the device has the raw horsepower to allow you to control how you want to view the content.
I prefer to stick with the Archos and Sling box solutions, because they understand that you should be able to get the content you already paid for, when you want and how you want it.
Convenience is now like black and white TV. Control is HD.
Lastly, I’m impressed with your even-handed treatment of this topic, especially because you have every right to be upset with the cable industry after they showed your HDNet the door to support their own consortium supported INDmenand HD offerings. You along with Discovery Channel were early pioneers of HD and they gave you the short end of the stick when the rest of the industry piled in.
Comment by mistahmediaguy -
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What is your end in this?
Tough to believe you would get behind a concept that didn’t offer you some profit in the end.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, agreed.
Where are you eating?
Comment by markmontoya -
Great post, Mark! I agree! I want it everywhere. If I pay for it, I want it ubiquitous. Yes, it is a BIG undertaking but I don’t think it is outside of the technologies currently available. It is going to take a group of visionaries with sufficient capital to blaze the trail.
Paid content is a straight forward concept; you pay, you consume. But I think society is used to consuming content for ‘free’ in an ad supported model. This leads to the question: Do we work to change the consumption habits of viewers or do we change the way advertising is bought and sold?
I see advertising driven by the technology to deliver the content.
We don’t need archaic “commercials” anymore nor do we need hardware limits (e.g. no skipping commercials). We need a new way to implement advertising that isn’t forced. For instance, branded user interfaces or 5 second pre-roll inviting the user to view the advertiser’s content after the main content. Of course this would require a tectonic shift in the buying, selling and creation of advertising.
I have always had respect for BMW who, early on, embraced branded content. It was fun to consume.
I see the online advertising models slowly changing these “off-line” advertising habits, but what we really need is a company, consortium or whomever to step forward and look at this with a multi-platform adverting approach. He who develops this new paradigm wins. He wins consumers and advertisers both.
So, Mark, I think having users pay for content is a good idea, I just don’t know if users are WILLING to pay for content. Let’s offer a non-obtrusive advertising model to deliver multiple platform content and back that with the online ad serving model and I think we’ll have a win-win.
Comment by davidbailey111 -
I know this doesn’t solve the overall problem you discussed in your article but for a short-term solution (using short tentatively here)you can buy a Sling Box and program it to your laptop or mobile device. It links your home cable box to your device so you can access it anywhere.
I bought a Sling Box when I moved from Boston for a year so I could keep up with the Celtics and while the quality wasn’t ideal, it was much better than watching live scoring on ESPN.
From MC> slingbox is great. i have one and use it from my ITouch and laptop. Problem is that i cant just download the content . I have to be online to watch it, whether live tv or from my dvr
I haven’t tried it on a mobile device but I’ve heard the results are ok based on the internet connection you have.
Hope this helps!
Comment by tsbaron -
“As far as the all you can eat model leading to decoupling of awards, no one says that you have to sell your content to Time Warner or anyone else.”
Thanks for your reply, Mark. I subscribe to your blog because you always have something of value to share.
My point wasn’t a complaint about Time Warner at all, as I said, so be it. As a content producer I clearly am not an advocate of ‘everything should be free’ since it all costs (me) something to make.
Comment by newmediastrategygroup -
I think this only gets done if a satellite or internet(uverse) provider can convince the networks. Comcast and all the crap cable companies aren’t going to do it.
In order to get a deal done though the networks will need more money in subscription fees and have to have guaranteed commercial placement with no fast forward subsidizing some of that cost. At that point if Directv wants to build out the technology and take on the bandwidth to get the extra subscribers that want TV Everywhere, then maybe it gets done. The question is how much will this cost DirecTv, how much will it cost subscribers, and how much will the major networks want.
DirecTv is already on there way with what they are doing with the NFL Sunday Ticket so it may only be a matter of time. If DirecTv was smart, they would get an exclusive deal with all the major TV networks to exclusively distribute TV everywhere.
Comment by sportstechnow -
It wouldn’t even be a ton of software for some. I’ve had FIOS for about 3 months now and all the boxes, including my DVR are on my network. They had to go out of their way to prevent me from putting a show on my iTouch or laptop. They already have software that goes the other way, allowing you to stream videos from your PC to your FIOS device, so its neither difficult nor expensive from where they are right now.
Comment by liquorcricket -
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I’ve been surprised by the amount of negative feedback over the “TV Anywhere” plans of Time Warner and other cable providers. Many commentators have groused about the cable companies erecting a “pay wall” around their content and they see this as yet another example of old media not “getting it.”
But, as you point out, we do pay for premium content (one way or the other). And, if we do, why shouldn’t we be able to access that content from anywhere we’d like, on any screen? It seems like “TV Anywhere” is a step in the right direction.
I also think it’s evidence that cable companies understand that their real value is in serving as a content delivery platform that extends beyond their physical cable infrastructure.
As with Theodore Levitt’s famous example of how the growth of the railroads stalled because of their belief they were in the “railroad business,” rather than realizing they were actually in the “transportation business,” cable TV companies are realizing that they are not in the “cable TV” business but, rather, the entertainment delivery and monetization business. To the extent this is true, it makes sense for them to provide that content through as many venues as possible.
I wrote about this on my blog back in early March when Time Warner’s Bewkes first began to discuss this idea publicly. If you’re interested, the full post is here:
Time Warner’s Vision: TV Everywhere http://blogs.wharton.upenn.edu/staff/kendallwhitehouse/2009/03/time-warner-tv-everywhere.html
Comment by kmwhitehouse -
I want to get hired by Mark Cuban … for the smallest amount of money in history … to do television programming from my two room penthouse home/office/studio in Santa Rosa, CA
Comment by socoolbob -
* No person has the “right” to healthcare, either. Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is this stated. We also don’t have the “right” to food, heat, water, shelter, and others, so stop assuming healthcare workers should give their product away.
* There is no such product as an “ITouch”
* Take-it-with-you already exists if you have a simple Windows Media Center setup and a Zune, iPhone, or other mobile device. With the announcement of relaxed DRM constraints last week, it will be easier to do this with more channels’ content.
I am the person you described. I want to take the content for which I’ve paid, and watch it when I want, where I want. When I’m watching this time/place-shifted content, I am not consuming the content that is currently streaming, so therefore it is impossible for me to consume more content than I am paying for with this model.
I have a Rhapsody To Go subscription and love it. It constrains me to using 3 mobile devices and 1 live stream. Since I started PAYING for this subscription, I quit copying my friends’ music and I’ve NEVER BEEN HAPPIER!! Video content providers should realize that a good model opened my wallet.
From MC> I like calling it an itouch and cable card is still just 1 way. So you lose far more than you gain . Agree on the subscription values. thanks !
Comment by dmccall -
Adressing some logical inconsistencies:
1. “We aren’t talking healthcare, we are talking The Simpsons. No one in the country has the right for their Simpsons to be subsidized.”
The implication in this statement is that people do have the right for their healthcare to be subsidized. If you believe that, it is a short and slippery slope to ‘people have the right to have their Simpsons subsidized.’ Any argument for subsidized healthcare extends easily to subsidized entertainment.
2. “As is always the case, many people think TV programming should be widely available for free on the internet.” Despite claiming this is a bad idea, you turn around and essentially argue for the same thing. Here’s how: Your implication of “HUGE VALUE ADD” for people to get what they pay for on cable to also be available everywhere implies that they won’t have to pay for that additionally for the service, i.e. FREE (Or as the as the article you reference quotes Comcast “free online and on demand.”)
So now the rights holders of that content who have the right to charge for every embodiment of that work, don’t get to do that in your model. In this case the rights holders like Time Warner have chosen to participate in this model with the cable companies, so be it. But this model is ultimately a loss to the best content creators (artists), since the all-you-can-eat model leads to a decoupling of rewards to those creators of the most popular content. They are in effect subsidizing all the losers.
From MC> They have the right to charge for it. If they charge too much, it will get pirated and stolen and wont make them money. As far as the all you can eat model leading to decoupling of awards, no one says that you have to sell your content to Time Warner or anyone else. You can start your own website and sell it however you want.
Comment by newmediastrategygroup -
After TV is everywhere, which seems inevitable to me, whats the next step? The simultaneous explosion of social media and TV Everywhere will probably lead to interactive media everywhere. Everyone has a thousand ideas for “monetizing social media.” I think the value add concept that you stick to – Mark – is the key. “TwitTV Everywhere” anyone?
Comment by johnakerson -
You’re right. There are companies that produce content and we pay for it via our cable subscription. But we also pay a fixed rate for a fixed amount of channels, which only 1/4 of them interest me.
Are we going to see a time in the future in which a la carte pricing comes into the picture? Probably would disrupt the industry, but I’m tired of subsidizing “Flip this House” reruns.
From MC> Bundling is a way of life. You pay for Picture in Picture on your Tv, but prob dont use it. You pay for broadband internet which subsidizes bandwidth for websites and applications you will never use. There are features on your PC, phone and all your softwre apps you dont use. But you pay for them. Thats just the way products work. The alternative of ala carte would make them all more expensive
Comment by steveplace -
No one in the country has the right for their Simpsons to be subsidized.
I’d agree with this, except that the government spent a whole lot of money sending out $40 coupons that say otherwise, didn’t they?
Comment by researchrants -
Hah! Television ought to be SIN-TAXED to extinction. It turns people into fat, unthinking zombies.
Mark is right, content is never free.
Only the real cost is precious humanity.
Comment by captiousnut -
I have no problem at all paying for content. You’re right, it doesn’t create itself, someone needs to be paid. Unfortunately it’s either too difficult or too expensive to legally put a TV show in my iPod. And often it’s simply impossible to do legally. Yeah, I can buy episodes for $1.99 from the iTunes Music Store, but in my mind that’s too much. Until the media distributors can come up with an easy-to-use, easy-to-afford plan, people are going to resort to illegal means which cuts the studios out all together.
Here are ideas I’ve had.
1. Offer the show for free, but first work with hardware vendors of media players to prevent people from forwarding past commercials. Distribute the shows like podcasts. Sure, some geek somewhere will hack that, but most people won’t do that and will watch the commercials.
2. Offer subscription services. And “all you can eat” plan as long as you watch the show before the next episode comes out.
3. Offer plans bundled with satellite or cable packages or make it easy for people to pull shows off their DVRs and Tivos to their iPods and Zunes.
I think in general people want to do the right thing. But the studios have put up so many roadblocks that the path of least resistance is piracy which nets them nothing.
Comment by John Mayson -
Hi Mark, I always enjoy reading your perspectives on internet video distribution.
I like the idea of TV Everywhere, technically. I’m undecided but it’s a good idea in theory for sure.
I agree that people out there should expect to pay for content unless they prefer an ad supported model which is the most common. Many people would prefer to have ads instead of pay themselves and that should be okay. TV Everywhere will have advertising too.
Though there is one big concern which I usually have which you usually do not address, and I dont expect you to really care about it, but I would like to point it out.
You state: “To some people this is not a good idea. As is always the case, many people think tv programming should be widely available for free on the internet. ”
There is another reason to be unhappy: The nice thing about internet distribution in it’s current state is that it’s democratic and everyone can participate…or decide whats good for their personal niche interests. Too, video is used for many things besides lowest-common-denominator entertainment such as special interest programming, education or politics for instance. If TV Everywhere works out, it could create a closed environment that will shut out other quality content by companies unable to get a deal.
That is, it could change the nature of media and put the main voice back into the hands of an elite few. Even alongside TV Everywhere, people will still be able to distribute freely or however they want to of course, though it may become somewhat insignificant for the majority of the regular viewing audiences.
The democratization of TV, with all its pros and cons, is at least an important consideration for the future.
From MC> Unless the creators of that special interest , education or political content are stupid, they can always choose to make it available for free on the internet. Thats their call. Or they can try to sell it, recognizing it could limit distribution. Thats real world. It has nothing to do with TV Everywhere. Its just one more “internet red herring”
Comment by andrewbaron -
Subscription TV is going nowhere but UP–in cost. However that’s not my chief concern as an independent content creator:
“[TV Everywhere] raises substantial anti-competitive issues by restricting the availability of programming to the favored distribution methods,” said Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of the public interest group Public Knowledge. “Under the TV Everywhere plan, no other program distributors would be able to emerge, and no consumers will be able to ‘cut the cord’ because they find what they want online. As a result, consumers will be the losers.”
FULL Story: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/06/time-warner-comcast-depart-from-hulu-model-with-tv-everywhere/
Indie Film Producer, Movie Biz Blogger and Social Business Strategist
Comment by milesmaker -
Fantastic post. You raise an important point Mark.
While anti-piracy proponents have a valid point of view, there is other side that needs to be fixed as well. We pay for the same content multiple times. I have bought same song (as part of same or various albums) multiple times.
Anti-piracy movement has one idea to sort out. What are customers paying for? Is it media (CD or DVD or tape or flash drive etc) or the song/serial/movie etc. Then we can ask why same movie can be priced differently on blue-ray disc, CD, or from the web or cable TV. This part is almost never part of the debate.
Comment by Ardy -
Awesome post Mark!
Can’t you just fund a start-up to make this happen? Why must we wait for the incumbents? They will take forever!
Comment by Brian Duperrouzel -
I’m racked with guilt, thinking of how greedy and dishonest my parents were. They went 40 years or so watching TV via antenna without paying for it. They were both conservatives — Republicans even — and there they were, expecting their entertainment needs to be subsidized. I thought they were upstanding citizens and great people, and it turns out they were just thieves and maybe socialists. Oh, the disillusionment.
Either that, or there are legitimate business models that rely on profits from something *other* than viewing fees to subsidize content creation.
From MC> And those channels are still free, albeit available only digitally now. Im very clear about the differentiation being content on the internet
Comment by Brooks Talley -
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Agreed Mark, TV Everywhere would be awesome. However do you really think that we’re going to get it at no incremental cost? I doubt it.
Comment by uwskiguy -
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