The Web has lit up with buzz about the desperation that hatched yesterday’s announcement from Time Warner and Comcast of ‘TV Everywhere,’ an online portal where subscribers of Comcast cable will be able to freely view premium content from the likes of TBS and TNT.
Mainly it’s about control. It’s no secret that the heads of big media companies like Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes have been racking their brains trying to develop models for bringing their content online without giving it away.
So now we have ‘TV Everywhere,’ an authentication system that will bring more premium content to the Web, but only for Comcast subscribers who can prove they’re already paying the freight.
Nationwide technical trials are set to begin next month, but Public Knowledge, a prominent Washington digital-rights group, is already crying foul.
“Limiting access to programming is straight out of the cable playbook, going back to the days when Congress had to act in 1992 to allow the satellite programming distributors to have access to cable programming,” Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said in a statement responding to the Time Warner-Comcast deal. “This new version raises substantial anti-competitive issues by restricting the availability of programming to the favored distribution methods.”