February 23, 2009

More "customer service" from Cable TV

The same cable television folks whose installers and repairmen usually showed up late – if at all – for service calls are looking at ways to expand their reach into online video content.

They’re working with TV networks to try to find a profitable way of putting cable TV programs online – but available only to people who have cable subscriptions. Details are still a little fuzzy, but it appears they want to score a knockout against hulu.com and other budding services that offer content for free.

And the Wall Street Journal quotes Comcast CEO Brian Roberts as saying that cable subscribers could access content online – content that transcends programming that’s now available for free.

Advertising apparently would still be a critical part of the formula, but I suspect the cable folks have a plan that would hike cable rates for subscribers who would like access to this “free” online video. News reports indicate this new "service" could be rolled out later this year.

The business model for this new scheme isn’t abundantly clear at this point, and it may become even fuzzier by the time it’s rolled out. I suspect access will come “free” at first, followed by incremental hikes for subscribers whether or not they have internet access.

Remember the days of free, over-the-air broadcasting?

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