When Time Warner and Comcast decided to make cable programming available to its American customers online three years ago, it was a great idea. But currently, the project is swamped by failed deals, long negotiations and ongoing disputes. What went wrong?
The Wall Street Journal reports that it's the slow, tedious negotiations that have been its downfall, along with a changing model of interaction between channels, cable providers and media consumers:
"[Apps] give networks the opportunity to be in direct contact with consumers, sometimes for the first time. That allows the networks to collect email addresses and other information about their viewers directly, and could eventually make it easier for channels to compete with cable operators-or survive without them.
"That potential for conflict has bogged down TV Everywhere's rollout, as cable operators and TV channels wrangle over whose websites and applications subscribers can use to watch shows online. For instance, News Corp . and Disney have so far insisted that they will include shows from their broadcast networks in TV Everywhere only if subscribers also can watch them through their joint-venture online-video site Hulu LLC."
Hulu -- and other similar services -- however, seems to be feared among cable companies, as they're concerned about the competition. But that fear leads to more blocked content, less openness and, ultimately, inferior service for consumers. Sort it out, guys. [Wall Street Journal]