The Internet is a “threat’ to all media, it seems.
With 35% of cable subscribers who also watch video online thinking of cutting their cable subscription, the threat to major media companies like Time Warner, Viacom and NBC Universal has become very real.
The majority of profits for these companies currently come from cable programming. The concern is that cable programming online will completely erode the significant fees they garner from their subscribers – fees that are currently keeping major entertainment companies afloat.
On the other hand, as more network television shows up online, and the ever-present threat of regular consumers uploading copyrighted material on video-sharing services like YouTube, cable networks could get left in the dust if they don’t get online with all the other shows.
One idea that’s garnered some interest among the cable companies is going ahead with putting cable shows online – but in order to view them, consumers must first prove that they are a cable subscriber. This gives their customers the convenience of viewing their favorite programs anytime they want from their computers, while still ensuring that everyone who views the material has paid for the privilege.
Cable networks are trying to set up a standard cable-viewing policy across the board, worrying that if some shows are available for free (as many of Comedy Central’s shows currently are on Hulu) while others are restricted to cable subscribers only, they will not have managed the problem in the best way possible.