Top cable TV providers and TV networks are considering putting large numbers of cable shows online, but accessible only to cable subscribers, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc. are discussing with owners of major cable TV networks ways to give cable subscribers online access to much of the networks’ programming, according to people familiar with the situation, the Wall Street Journal says.
The discussions, according to the story, which was written by Sam Schechner and Vishesh Kumar, have been going on for months and also include Viacom Inc., NBC Universal and others.
The cable operators hope the new Web services, which could launch this year, will attract new subscribers, despite the popularity of free-to-watch online services like Hulu.com, owned by NBC Universal and News Corp.
By offering access to unique Web video, cable operators feel they’d have an advantage over satellite and telco rivals, the story says.
Because cable, satellite and telco operators paid programmers $22.5 billion in subscription fees last year, cable networks and operators have a large stake in preserving their business model. This is why cable operators have placed limits on how much free content some cable networks may offer online, the story says.
The proposed Web services would likely be streamed with ads and accessible both in and out of home, and without any additional charge to cable TV subscribers, the story said.
WSJ Online subscribers may read the full story here.