Chicago (IL) – In an interview with Advertising Age, Jeff Bewkes, chief executive of Time Warner discussed a concept the company has deemed TV Anywhere. The goal of the initiative is to start an industry wide revolution, taking back the cable industry and maintaining television networks simultaneously. “This is not just for the cable industry,” he said. “It’s about keeping the health of all these fantastic networks while making them available at no extra charge on the online platform.”
The concept is simple. If an individual pays for access to programming via a cable or satellite company, then that individual would also be able to watch the same television programs viewed on their television via any computer connected to the Internet, and potentially even on a cellphone. This feature isn’t yet available from the TV networks due to the fact that many of them receive a large portion of their income from the fees charged to pay television companies like cable or satellite.
For example, fifty percent of a TV network’s revenue comes from their partnerships with cable companies. Cable television is one of the few subscription services that Americans continue to pay for. As such, keeping its programming off the web is an important piece of the programming puzzle for their constant source of revenue.
Television delivered via the web in this manner is called “over the top” — as it is delivered using a broadband connection instead of a cable or satellite system.
Bewkes claimed that the added access would be free for 85 percent of American households, and he thinks there should be a web-only option for individuals who don’t currently pay for television service.
This concept would change the face of cable television, as it wouldn’t take long before purchasing access to television streams would be a popular concept. You could buy MTV and Comedy Central from Viacom, and other stations you like, possibly not paying for the whole packaged service which may contain never watched programs.
This would pull cable programming onto the web and right out from under websites like Hulu, Myspace, Yahoo TV, and even YouTube. Free cable streaming will be a thing of the past. “If you want to watch your favorite TV network or shows through broadband on any device — PCs or mobile — you can do it as long as you subscribe to any multi-channel provider,” Bewkes said. “It’s a natural extension of the existing model.”