My solution goes like this: Present an ultimatum to telcos and cable ops. Either divest from IP based content and services or open access to networks at a depreciation schedule based price. Cable operators will need to discontinue analog channel delivery and reserve those channels for lease to competitive access providers, again for a depreciation schedule based fee. If telcos and cable ops don’t like that deal they can always spin off voice and video and live on as providers of dumb pipe. As draconian as this may sound, I an certain that this will actually refocus telcos and cable ops on their core businesses, increasing profit and shareholder value. It would also provide enough alternative access options to make the network neutrality debate irrelevant
If you are a Time Warner Cable subscriber eager to get Epix, the pay-TV channel from Viacom, Lions Gate and MGM, you may be in for a long wait.
Time Warner Cable Chief Financial Officer Rob Marcus said Epix didn’t do itself any favors when it struck a deal with Netflix that made movies from the pay channel’s parent studios available for Internet streaming just 90 days after their debut on Epix.
Speaking at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, Marcus said that Epix’s deal with Netflix devalued the channel.
When Epix struck its deal with Netflix last month, it hoped that a three-month window between when a movie appeared on the pay cable channel and when it was available for streaming would placate distributors such as Time Warner Cable.
Tho I think what the Boss has advocated has a reasonable basis in the realities of the Telcom industry, the Cable Cos probably want none of it. That evidenced by the decision of TWC not to license Epix services as they cut a deal with NetFlix. Seems to me to be a unusual version of redlining, only its not the customers its done to but their choice of entertainment supplier. An interesting test of this would be for a TWC broadband user announces he uses NetFlix for all his viewing pleasure.
The sad thing is the Suits are holding on to a dream that is almost dead. They can’t control the content access anymore using threats against the channel partners. They already have NetFlix. Hulu is ramping up online. RedBox is cleaning up in the JIT delivery of movies via kiosk BestBuy and I am sure WalMart will soon enter the fray on IP based pay per view. (Though that is a dead one unless the price is right.) So the fact is content providers have alternate avenues to display their wares. The Cable Cos like the AT&T and VZ folk have to adjust to the fact they are being relegated to a data only world anyway.
Can they compete in the content delivery arena? Sure. Fact I welcome it, more the merrier. But both players have to get their legacy costs down or they will be/ or are eclipsed by the new entrants.
Moves like TWC’s are like a scene out of a John Ford western. Lying behind the dead horse taking shots at individual providers while the whole tribe of other suppliers over run your position. Futile.
Time Warner acknowledged the problem to Threat Level on Tuesday, and says it’s in the process of testing replacement firmware code from the router manufacturer, which it plans to push out to customers soon.
“We were aware of the problem last week and have been working on it since,” said Time Warner spokesman Alex Dudley.
The vulnerability lies with Time Warner’s SMC8014 series cable modem/Wi-Fi router combo, made by SMC. The device is one of several options Time Warner offers to customers who don’t want to install their own modem and router to use with the company’s broadband service. The device is installed with default configurations, which customers can alter only slightly through its built-in web server. The most customers can do through this page is add a list of URLs they want their router to block.
But blogger David Chen, writing at chenosaurus.com, recently discovered he could easily gain remote access to an administrative page served by the router that would allow him greater control of the device.
If you have a SMC8014 in your home network PROVIDED by TWC you might want to inquire with TWC as to whether your particular device has had a patch applied. Oh, and don’t take their word for it. Ask for the work order record. If they don’t have one for your account they probably did not do it. Keep in mind that somebody could drive up to your curb and be manipulating your device. Do not take this issue lightly.
6. Special Provisions Regarding HSD Service
That ladies and gentlemen is the modification that will appear in a TWC bill at your domicile sometime soon. The jest of this legalize is to prepare YOU for metered service. Without the change TWC could lose in court in a challenge under the old contract.
Metered service is nigh!
Having been looking for a buyer for the ailing AOL unit, TWC has finally decided to spin the unit, er sucker, off. Considering its falling fortunes and revenues, AOL represents a $124Bn gamble that never made sense and might as well be a write off. –
“A separation will be the best outcome for both Time Warner and AOL,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Bewkes said in the statement. “The separation will also provide both companies with greater operational and strategic flexibility.”
Bewkes is getting rid of AOL, which has confronted falling ad sales during the recession, to focus Time Warner on its film and cable-television businesses. AOL has dealt Time Warner a series of setbacks since the 2001 deal: shareholder lawsuits, a regulatory probe and declining sales. The parent company wasn’t able to sell or find a partner for the unit after talks last year with Google Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
“The obvious implication of spinning out all of AOL in one entity is that Time Warner’s efforts to sell AOL failed,” Fred Moran, a Boca Raton, Florida-based analyst at Benchmark Co., said in an interview. “Now, as a last resort, Time Warner is looking towards spinning the whole company out.”
At one time having a horizontal entity that could provide all services would seem to have made sense. But AOL was never marketed as part of a package deal, nor was AOL tool set ever leveraged to the benefit of the cable delivery unit. (eg. Cable internet uses its own portal rather than utilize AOL’s).
Fortunes fall sometime through no fault of their own. But I am afraid that the TWC-AOL deal was just a reason to be big for big’s sake. Under that guise the purchase was a fools errand. They are $124Bn poorer for it.
Austin StoptheCap! reader Ryan Howard kicks off our premiere edition with a report that his Road Runner service was cut off yesterday without warning. According to Ryan, it took four calls to technical support, two visits to the cable store to try two new cable modems (all to no avail), before someone at Time Warner finally told him to call the company’s “Security and Abuse” center.
“I called the number and had to leave a voice mail and about an hour later a Time Warner technician called me back and lectured me for using 44 gigabytes in one week,” Howard wrote.
Howard was then “educated” about his usage.
“According to her, that is more than most people use in a year,” Howard said.
Howard questioned the company representative about what defines an acceptable amount of usage so he doesn’t get cut off again. He pays extra for Road Runner’s premium Turbo tier, so he already hands more money to Time Warner than average subscribers for his broadband service.
“All she would commit to is less — perhaps half or as quarter as much,” he said. Time Warner is taking their DOCSIS 3 toys home with them after customers reject Caps ‘n Tiers.
Convenient, considering that amounts to 40-60 gigabytes a month, which falls right in line with the now-temporarily-shelved tier pricing.
Ryan felt concerned that the Time Warner representative had such detailed information in front of her about his usage, although the representative reiterated repeatedly that they were not monitoring what he was doing with his account, just how much and when he was using it.
I would really have to question TWC’s long term motives here. I understand why they are doing it. But the gameplan is going to back fire. They already have the ire of the House Rep in Rochester, NY. If they continue along the lines they are going they will have about 8 other House members looking into this as well.
TWC, just remember next year IS an election year. Having your customer base running to Congress rarely does one good.
Time Warner Cable is canceling plans for a new Internet pricing plan for the Rochester area that would have billed people according to how many gigabytes they use each month, Sen. Charles Schumer announced today.
The company had unveiled the new consumption-based pricing plan at the beginning of April, with the plan due to take effect in September.
But the reaction by Web users was overwhelmingly negative. They accused Time Warner Cable of trying to reap profits at the expense of consumers who were accustomed to flat-rate/unlimited usage service.
As the protests increased, area politicians joined in criticizing the company, and Schumer, D-N.Y., today announced the decision in front of Time Warner Cable’s local headquarters on Mt. Hope Avenue.
The moral of the story? Get a bunch of people together, start a campaign drive, call your congressman and write letters to the FCC and you just might get those spineless jerks on Mahogany Row to back off implementing caps in your area. It is the only conclusion that can be drawn from this.