US cable co paying to keep shows offline

US cable TV company Time Warner Cable is reportedly offering incentives to prevent hit TV shows being offered to online services like Apple TV.

30-time-warner-cable-logoAs connected services acquire more top of the range content to lure viewers, how is an old-school cable company meant to compete? The answer might be “with a combination of cash and threats.”

Bloomberg reports that Time Warner Cable has been approaching programme makers and offering ‘incentives’ to keep their shows off the internet and on cable. The incentives can take the form of higher payments under existing deals or – it is alleged – of threats to drop programmes entirely if their makers do not comply.

The allegations came from sources who did not wish to be identified. Asked about the incentives this week at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association show, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said, ”We may well have [contracts] that have that prohibition. This is not a cookie-cutter kind of business.”

Reacting to suggestions that such practices are anti-competitive (and may even fall foul of US Antitrust laws), TWC’s Maureen Huff said, “Exclusivities and windows are extremely common in the entertainment industry. It’s absurd to suggest that, in today’s highly competitive video marketplace, obtaining some level of exclusivity is anticompetitive.”

(source: Bloomberg)

About author
Stuart Houghton has been writing about technology for over a decade and messing about with it since he was old enough to press buttons. Stu is the former UK Editor of Kotaku.com and specialises in tech writing for several UK publications. He is also part of the IT team for a major UK charity.

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