The Associated Press reported last week that, “The largest cable operators are in talks with media conglomerates to take back control. They would create a platform to release cable TV shows online, but exclusively for paying subscribers. Those involved include Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp., General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal, News Corp., Viacom Inc. and Time Warner Inc. “
This week Advertising Age followed up with an interview of Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes.
Bewkes suggests the content would be free for exisiting subscribers.
“For 85% of U.S. households, the added access would be, essentially, free. Mr. Bewkes said he anticipates there will be a Web-only option for those who don’t have pay-TV service,” according to the article. That strategy may have legs depending on the details.
I should also note that I spoke with someone in the industry last week who said the back office billing would be easy for the cable companies. They already have platforms that extend to the Web easily and provide the necessary DRM to restrict access to content based on subscription status.