Television is at a tipping point, as cable companies and technology firms jockey to control the stream of content to a growing number of screens. Now Jeffrey Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner, is cozying up to Google as an ally in his push for a model called “TV Everywhere”.
While it’s sold as a consumer friendly ‘Pay Once, Watch Anywhere’ approach, TV Everywhere is really a desperate attempt by the old-school cable giants to keep customers from cutting the cord, dumping their monthly cable TV bills and switching to the web as their only source of in-home entertainment.
Right now Apple, Google and a slew of smaller competitors are introducing a new generation of set-top boxes that bring the web to consumer’s TVs. Apple would like to offer individual episodes of TV shows at 99 cents a pop, just like they do for music tracks on iTunes. But the networks and cable giants have balked at Apple’s plan, wary of falling victim to the same dilution that has crumpled the music industry.
Instead they are pitching TV Anywhere, which gives consumers access to streaming shows on any web connected device so long as they pay a monthly fee. Partnering with Google will give Time Warner a big platform on which to push this service. But consumers may still opt to pay $9.99 a month for Netflix, watch Hulu for free and pirate the premium shows they desire instead of shelling out upwards of $50 a month for cable.