Time Warner Cable Deals 12 Nets Into Web-TV Game
MSO Expects tTo Launch ‘TV Everywhere' Beta Test Before Year-End
Todd Spangler 8/27/2009 1:45:48 PM EDT

Time Warner Cable isn't ready to start testing "TV Everywhere" yet, but the operator is trying to signal it's fully embracing the concept by announcing deals with a dozen programmers to provide content for soon-to-be-launched online-video beta trials.

The cable company expects to test TV Everywhere in the next few months with about 5,000 subscribers, after a round of technical trials. Time Warner Cable has lined up Time Warner Inc.'s TBS, TNT and HBO; CBS; NBC Universal's Syfy; BBC America; Rainbow Media's AMC, WE tv, IFC and Sundance Channel; Discovery Communications; and Smithsonian Channel.

The service -- as is the idea with similar Internet TV trials initiated by Comcast and Verizon Communications -- will let customers who subscribe to a video package containing the networks access a variety of online content from participating programmers for no additional charge.

"TV Everywhere is an all-around win for those of us who love television," Time Warner Cable chairman, president and CEO Glenn Britt said in a statement. "It will give our customers more control over content and allow them greater access to programs they are already paying for, while enhancing the distributors' and networks' robust business model that encourages the creation of great content."

Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes, in a statement, noted that the TV Everywhere concept began with a technical trial between HBO and Time Warner Cable in Milwaukee in January 2008.

"The trial proved TV Everywhere is more than just a concept and that consumers gravitate to popular shows on-demand regardless of the platform," Bewkes said in a statement. "With today's announcement we will expand the trial to offer more Time Warner shows, initially from TBS and TNT, to more Time Warner Cable customers nationally."

Still, the plans remain sketchy.

In Time Warner Cable's implementation of TV Everywhere, video subscribers will be able to access content online on the networks' Web sites as well as Time Warner Cable's own Web properties. Time Warner Cable director of public relations Justin Venech said the service could be accessible via Timewarnercable.com, the Road Runner portal or some other site.

Exactly which shows and how much content will be available is yet to be determined. Time Warner Cable said programming offered through the TV Everywhere trials will include many shows currently unavailable online and others that will be made available on the Internet more quickly following their original airdates than they are currently.

Venech said the networks will decide which shows and how much content they'll offer through the test. He declined to provide technical details of the MSO's TV Everywhere trial.

For now, the company is working to include other networks and said it expects to "expand TV Everywhere to more customers rapidly."

Also Thursday, Verizon Communications announced that it launched a TV Everywhere test -- initially offering Time Warner's TBS and TNT networks through those programmers' Web sites -- with about 500 FiOS TV and Internet subscribers last week.

An earlier report by The Wall Street Journal said Viacom is expected to participate in the TWC test; however, no Viacom properties were named in the cable company's official announcement Thursday.