“TV Everywhere,” Time Warner’s grand plan to offer cable subscribers access to shows on the web and other devices at no additional charge, is inching closer to reality.
Cable operators Verizon Communications and Time Warner Cable have agreed to participate in the experiment, the company announced on Thursday.
For the trials, about 5,000 Time Warner Cable subscribers will be able to access content online on the networks’ websites and on Time Warner Cable’s web properties. The company said it will launch the trials in select markets over the next few months.
The trial already boasts a slew of networks including TBS, TNT, HBO, CBS, BBC America, AMC, IFC, Sundance, Discovery and, curiously, the SyFy channel, which is owned by NBC Universal — the same company that has a stake in Hulu, the popular site that offers full-length television shows free on the Web.
Verizon will launch its TV Everywhere trial of its FiOS TV online programing from Time Warner’s Turner networks, TNT and TBS for no extra cost to its FiOS subscribers. DirecTV Group Inc, the largest U.S. satellite TV provider, is also working on a version of TV Everywhere, a person familiar with its plans told Reuters.
“It is the right model for consumers,” Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said during a conference call last month. “Increasingly, consumers want to be able to watch programs when they want, where they want to watch them, and on whichever device they choose.”
The concept, he said, is “right for the industry — it builds on cable programmers successful dual revenue stream business model, helping the continued investment in high quality programming” and would allow programming “from broad appeal to niche to succeed financially.”
At the time, he said Time Warner — which struck a trial deal with Comcast for “TV Everywhere” earlier this year — is in “active discussions with a number of other distributors, cable and satellite distributors to do the exact same thing.” But he wouldn’t disclose who those distributors are.
Bewkes said the success of HBO On Demand indicates that the market is ready for the concept. “We think it’s a very powerful and pretty obvious natural evolution of what consumers will easily embrace."