Comcast calls for content sector to fight OTT
Comcast's chief operating officer, Steve Burke, has issued a warning to content providers who sit by idly and complain about online viewing without doing something to change the TV business model. "An entire generation is growing up, if we don't figure out how to change that behaviour so it respects copyright and subscription revenue on the part of distributors, we're going to wake up and see cord cutting."
He said the current OnDemand Online trial - offering viewers access to cable channel shows in exchange for identifying themselves as subscribers - was not an effort to "change the advertising model or get a minute back from content providers," rather it is a way to "get in front of the biggest social movement I've ever seen. Online video consumption is off the charts."
Previously cable operators have played down the extent of cord cutting and some analysts say they've seen little real evidence of a supposed phenomenon that has subscribers cancelling their cable subscription to watch online for free.
"Some people's business models are going in the wrong direction," he said, a likely reference to News Corp, Disney and NBC Universal who are partners in free online video site, Hulu that is considering putting some content behind a pay-wall. "I've yet to meet a content provider who doesn't worry about cord cutting and doesn't see the wisdom of trying to get ahead of that. Stop talking about how hard it is and start figuring it out," he said.
Meanwhile, News Corp deputy chairman Chase Carey has added his voice to calls for a move to charges being levied for internet services – in this case for the Hulu online video-on-demand joint venture between NBC, News Corp and Disney.
Carey told the Broadcasting & Cable OnScreen conference in New York that the advertising-supported model for Hulu was not sustainable in the long term. He said that the service would require a subscription model as part of its business. He implied a subscription service could be launched as early next year, although Carey said that no fixed date had been set.