Comcast and Time Warner in video deal


Comcast subscribers are going to have broad access to Time Warner television content both online and on demand under a deal announced jointly. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says the “TV Everywhere” approach is non-exclusive and deals will soon be announced with other cable/satellite/telco distributors. Likewise, Comcast expects to add other programming providers to its nationwide trial.

The agreement announced Wednesday will make it possible for Comcast customers to access programming from Turner Broadcasting’s entertainment networks free online and on demand. In addition, Comcast announced it will begin a national technical trial of its “On Demand Online” service in July carrying programming from Time Warner’s Turner networks TNT and TBS.

“TV Everywhere is no longer just a concept, but a working model to deliver consumers more television content over broadband than ever before. We consistently look to make our popular, branded content more accessible to consumers in order to grow our business. This progressive approach to delivering television content online will enable the continued vibrancy and growth of distribution outlets, their content partners and advertising clients,” said Bewkes.

“Today’s announcement is all about giving our customers exponentially more free content, more choice and more HD programming online as well as on TV. We have been working for a year to bring more TV and movie content to our customers online and we are thrilled that Time Warner is joining us in our national technical trial. Ultimately, our goal is to make TV content available to our customers on all platforms,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Here’s how the Comcast online trial will work, according to the joint announcement.

The On Demand Online technical trial will involve premium long-form content with approximately 5,000 customers. The trial period will be dedicated to testing the new authentication technology on a national basis that will enable secured access to the content. This national trial will give customers an opportunity to explore the service and provide feedback that will help to shape the service over time. The initial trial is the first phase of a multi-phase rollout that will expand the amount of content, features and functionality of the service as subsequent iterations are implemented.

RBR/TVBR observation: This is where everyone in television has to go. Consumers want everything they want to watch, everywhere they want to watch it, whenever they want to watch it. If your competitor does that and you don’t, you will have a problem.

And while it might seem that Comcast and Time Warner have all the bases covered with this deal, don’t forget Mobile DTV. The cable networks are going to need you, TV station owners, to be partners to distribute content to new digital mobile devices.