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Cable giants Time Warner and Comcast take aim at Hulu

Call it the anti-Hulu.

Cable giants Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corp. are expected to announce Wednesday that they are teaming on a new venture that would make it harder for people to watch TV shows online for free. 

BEWKES Motivating the media giants is the emergence of online video as an alternative to television. Hulu, the venture owned by News Corp., NBC Universal and soon Disney, has become an overnight sensation with its steady stream hit TV shows for free.

It's that free part of Hulu that is so worrisome to Comcast and Time Warner. Cable operators have been  irritated that Hulu gives away stuff that they pay good money to carry. Cable companies shell out some $22 billion annually for programming, which explains why Hulu makes them nervous.

ROBERTS Called "TV Everywhere," the initiative has been pushed hard by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes. It requires viewers to demonstrate that they already subscribe to a pay TV service -- cable, satellite or telephone company -- before they may watch certain shows online. 

Technology has been a hurdle in these efforts. The companies have to find a way to "authenticate" whether the person logging on to a website also is paying for cable or satellite service. Time Warner Cable has been testing the service in Wisconsin for several months. Comcast also plans to test its version, called OnDemand Online. Another Comcast service, Fancast, which provides online video, could become the vehicle for TV Everywhere. Both companies declined to comment this afternoon.

Time Warner's Bewkes will be joined by Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts to unveil their partnership at a news conference in New York City.

--- Meg James

Photos: (Top) Jeff Bewkes by Evan Agostini / AP. (Bottom) Brian Roberts by George Widman / AP.

Comments () | Archives (12)

It is not possible. The world would explode first,

I think he should have to demonstrate that he is not already the douchiest that he can possibly be. Seriously, if this doesn't underscore the need for laws requiring net neutrality, nothing will. Hopefully the FCC will take notice and act very quickly.

Two of the worst companies in customer service history want to eff the whole world instead of just their customers. Arrogant ba$tard$ don't care about people having choices if they want or need to save money. If I can ever get a decent alternative for internet access, I'll switch my cable to satellite and tell Comcast to go $crew themselves

I smell an antitrust lawsuit!

I remember when advertisers paid for TV and it was free.


well I would say I somewhat disagree with the three first comments.

Come on : Neworks & Cable companies had to profit first to pay for the show you like...!

What is underlying out there is the change going on with audience viewing habbits... Yes many of us viewers move away from TV to Computer and Internet VOD.

So what, would it be only for free, seriously ?

I'd love to have a pre-paid VOD platform, streaming only the shows I like, or I miss the most.

Network execs may be arrogant, unfair, and eventually axe shows and get anger for that. But they have a business... money, audience, ratings, advertising and ultimately... shows.

Here is a good place to learn more about the "change" : http://www.savethescc.com/nofate.html under the "Television is Changing" part (and pretty much all over this website).


These guys continue to be clueless about the internet, and clueless about what's causing their own demise.

Furthermore, they should be happy to have viewers on any terms with the garbage being churned out in the name of entertainment these days. Few will pay for the garbage and that will finish off their business for good.

So if I watch TV using an antenna for free, they want me to pay for a service just so I can access a stream on a website?

Oh come on guys. We just want something thats good and free.

Advertising should make all the money you need why try and spoil it??

How about loods in the free version and a paid model for people that want no ads. That could work

It is fun to watch cable companies squirm. Years of bad service and high prices, fully loaded with commercials, have only one outcome. Muahahahaha

I think blocking cable internet access to Hulu or any other websites that offer free video is a great idea. If enough people start watching Hulu they are going to cancel their cable tv subscription. I do not like the idea of free, people should have to pay to view content and advertising should be included too. I have to make payments on my $95 million yacht. Where am I going to get the money to make payments if I lose cable tv subscribers to that evil greedy corporation called Hulu. Die, Hulu, Die already.

WOW! If Comcast came out with this sooner I would of stayed with them! Now I work with DISH they have TV everywhere and I currently have it. I love have a TV in my pocket, it's one of the best things to happen. I'm always late getting home and I always miss my favoite shows now I do not have to! If I'm on the bus, train, light rail, where ever I can just pull my phone out and watch TV right then and there.


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