Content providers are mad, want to sue Time Warner over iPad app

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Oh, madness, thy name is “content providers” now (plurals are allowed, right? it’s an odd name). Because content providers are about to sue over new way to view their shows.

I understand this whole “love-hate” relationship between cable companies and content providers, but this is border-line insanity with paranoia. Just when Time Warner introduced iPad app that allows users to legally and conveniently watch live TV where they want, they get sued because such deed can’t be allowed to go unpunished or “everyone will do it”. For free, greedy bastards that they are.

First, I’d like to ask content providers: do you really want to lower your viewership numbers? Or, rather, would you like not to increase them? We are not talking about on-demand (which is, generally, available for free for many channels on Time Warner cable), or DVR (for which I bet channels don’t get any extra penny). We are talking for honest to goodness live stream. You know, like a little TV that you drag from room to room, commercials and all.

User already paid 25-50 bucks for all that content. Heck, for that you have to kiss viewer’s feet, offer whole library of your shows at convenience and stop pretending that it’s vitally and absolutely important for someone to see their favorite show exclusively on Friday at, say, 8:30pm. Because who could possibly have a life, that can take one away from the TV? And if you missed your show, and re-runs are not scheduled (okay, maybe at 2AM) then you’ve forfeited your right to see your favorite star do techno-babble and pout lips for 45 minutes until there’s a DVD release half a year later. Sure, that makes total sense (and that was sarcasm).

Time Warner finally did something right, and allow you to re-capture some users, that don’t have TV in every room and you sue them because you hope users will what, pay extra money for that? No. Users will use Sling or Tivo or Time Warner’s DVR and you will get nothing on top of what was paid.

Just because Nielsen ratings are a bit behind the times (I’d say they’re around the peak of Egyptian civilization, timeline-wise) and DVR numbers don’t get count for alternative devices, doesn’t mean you should try to kill the chance to expose your shows to those people. They’ve subscribed to your content already, there’s no reason for them to pay more.

And the second thing I want to ask is, define what is a TV. Because internet TVs are here. And, just like portable TVs a little bit ago, you can have a small flat panel with enough electronics in it to connect to TV stream via TCP/IP. It’s called an iPad (or iPad 2).

Weren’t you fighting just a bit ago to not be on Digital tier, so you’d be exposed to more viewers? Well, there’s your chance.

And if you think you’ll make a better offering on your web site, think again. If it’s really better (video on-demand, easy navigation, great show selection) people will use your web site. Until you kick your multimedia and legal departments in the nuts and make it happen, don’t complain about cable company’s offering. Help them. Get extra free publicity and enjoy additional 10 minutes of viewership.

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