Big Cable Moves to Scoop up Streaming Rights, Pressure Netflix, et al.
July 8, 2013 2:21 PM
comment(s) - last by
Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and more are at risk of seeing content cut off by secret backroom deals
It's a seeming golden age for streaming. Many customers are turning to streaming services to get their fix of favorite TV shows without having to (necessarily) pay for expensive DVRs, or remember to record programming. Streamed episodes are available from
, Inc. (
, Inc. (
) -- among other services. Other tech giants such as Apple, Inc. (
), Intel Corp. (
), and Google Inc. (
) are waiting hungrily in the ranks with
new set top boxes
of their own
I. Cable Companies Want a "Fair Shake" at Streaming
A Feb. 2012 report suggested
100 million Americans
(nearly 1 in 3 Americans) watch streaming video, and it suggests cable should be worried. Well apparently they are, and they're taking serious action looking to snatch up rights that could allow them to both unleash streaming services of their own, or block new market entrants.
anonymous comments from "several industry executives" as revealing that DirecTV (
), Time Warner Cable Inc. (
), and Charter Communications, Inc. (
) are putting in bids to win "
" rights from multichannel video program suppliers. Those involve are reportedly billing the effort as a "defensive" move, despite their being no current plans to deploy streaming services (versus traditional cable box services).
So what's the true motive? The report instead suggests that cable companies may try to sneak clauses into their programming contracts to install financial barriers to licensing to new streaming services (such as Intel's proposed service).
The bids could also be contingent on programmers dropping their streaming partnerships with other services like Netflix -- although that seems unlikely.
Cable companies are reportedly looking to cut off Netflix. [Image Source: AP]
Some fear that big cable may use these OTT purchases to try to dam the stream, so to speak. They argue that big cable's interest seems focused on depriving their internet-age rivals -- and customers -- from streaming content, and in the process forcing customers to continue pricey cable subscriptions.
This is not the first such assault on streaming. Content providers famously
"banned" set-top boxes and SmartTVs
, such as Google TV from accessing their online content after cable companies pressured them to stop directly providing content. Many networks have cut the number of episodes available on their websites to be streamed to users' PCs.
Big cable argues that it loses a lot of money to streaming. [Image Source: Flickr/Exif]
A DirecTV spokesperson insisted their company's goal was not to drive out the competition, stating, "Our programming deals are confidential so we can't specifically comment, but our one objective in these deals is not to restrict access but to ensure we get equal or better treatment with both existing and new competitors."
Some industry sources say that the content providers won't part so easily with OTT rights. Comments one source, "Most of the major programmers don't agree to it."
II. Government Report Warns of Multiple Anti-Streaming Tactics
Government Accountability Office
(GAO) suggests that programming providers may have good reasons to try to minimize the amount of content they license to streaming service providers, when most of their revenue comes from traditional cable ("multi-channel... distributors"). The report states, "While content providers are interested in providing some content to online video distributors (OVD), their incentive to do so is somewhat constrained by the potential effect on subscriptions to traditional multichannel video program distributors."
The GAO report also indicates that cable companies may exert their control over the internet to try to block streaming, by charging customers extra fees on streamed content. The GAO comments, "MVPDs may have an incentive to charge for bandwidth in such a way in such a way as to raise the costs to consumers for using OVD service."
Cable companies have multiple tactics to try to combat streaming. [Image Source: UNL]
Currently, such actions would violate the
U.S. Federal Communications Commission
's net neutrality policies and
could result in fines
laws passed by Congress
. Several such investigations
are currently open
Republicans in Congress
pushing hard to remove that net neutrality roadblock
, allowing companies like Time Warner or Comcast, Inc. (
) to freely charge you extra fees for using bandwidth to stream Netflix or throttle your connection to prevent streaming.
If a "doomsday" scenario of mass exclusive ownership of OTT rights by cable providers did occur, it would dramatically cut subscriptions to Netflix and other services; it would also damage set-top box makers like TiVo Inc. (
) whose value is partially based on the ability to easily access a compiled collection of streaming services. However, customers could hope in such a scenario that cable companies might opt to eventually offer their own additional subscription streaming services, competing against each other.
But for all the challenges, some fresh faces in the streaming world are charging on.
Intel has reportedly turned heads
with some very high bids for content and may soon be able to roll out its service. One executive said it was just a matter of time before many of Intel's proposals went through, while another comments, "They are very aggressive."
Intel's bid for a streaming success is reportedly nearing fruition. [Image Source: etechmag]
So for now it looks like cable will have to keep dreaming and scheming when it comes to stifle streaming.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Typical Cable...
7/8/2013 8:10:42 PM
Yes. The broadcasters and media companies are the primary reason that a la carte does not exist. You think cable company rate increases are bad? You don't even want to know the extortion that goes on behind the scenes. Media conglomerates pretty much blackmail the cable company demanding outrageous rate increases usually around 300% higher than the year before. And then there is "negotiations" and then they decide that they want to shut off the service. And then the company ends up having to cave and accept higher rates. And then people bitch that their cable price went up. Guess what, what the company pays to provide that service increases a hell of a lot more percentage-wise than the bill does.
"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
Intel Looks to Push Smartphone Atoms, Will "Consider" Playing Fab for ARM Rivals
July 1, 2013, 11:59 AM
Report: Google Working on Android Game Console, Smart Watch
June 28, 2013, 2:00 PM
Report: Intel to Unveil Streaming TV Service, Settop Box at CES
December 31, 2012, 9:38 AM
Sony PlayStation 3 is Netflix's Most Popular Streaming Device
December 5, 2012, 8:06 AM
AT&T Nailed With FCC Net Neutrality Complaint for FaceTime Data Ban
September 18, 2012, 2:13 PM
Netflix Announces 7-to-1 Stock Split, Eyes Explosive Overseas Growth
June 23, 2015, 8:18 PM
Sources: Hack on Fed. Database Lost 4.1M Social Security Numbers, Personal Info
June 11, 2015, 9:11 PM
The Big One: Chinese Hackers Steal Records of 4 Million U.S. Gov. Employees
June 4, 2015, 8:13 PM
Tutorial: Here's How to Force YouTube or Vimeo VIdeos to Embed as HTML5
June 3, 2015, 10:14 PM
Google Finally Fixes Maps Bug That Was Giving Racist, Profane Results
May 21, 2015, 1:43 PM
The Pirate Bay Loses Its Iconic Swedish Dot SE Domains
May 20, 2015, 6:31 PM
Most Popular Articles
SanDisk's 200GB microSDXC Card Turns Smartphones Into Enviable PMPs
June 26, 2015, 2:02 PM
Windows XP, Vista Users Can Get Free Windows 10 Upgrade Thanks to Loophole
June 23, 2015, 2:23 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
U.S. Navy Spends $9M USD to Cling to Windows XP, Office 2003
June 24, 2015, 2:03 PM
F-16 Schools Trillion-Dollar F-35 in Mock Combat, Fleeing is Best Option Pilot Admits
July 1, 2015, 5:53 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information