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Hall Of Fame
15,561 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The various channels/networks that offer online streaming are working with your favorite cable/satellite companies to require you to have a cable/satellite subscription, thereby assuring these channels/networks that you are paying retransmission fees before you can watch streaming content.

Last Thursday numerous news sources reported that Hulu co-owners Disney (ABC), News Corp (Fox), and Comcast (NBCU) were about to buy out Providence Equity Partners, the only non-media owner. In itself, this is not unusual as startup capital providers frequently divest themselves after a few years.

But over the weekend, The New York Post reported:
Viewers who stream network TV shows may soon discover the free ride is not so free.

Hulu, which attracted 31 million unique users in March under a free-for-all model, is taking its first steps to change to a model where viewers will have to prove they are a pay-TV customer to watch their favorite shows, sources tell The Post.

In fact, the move by Hulu toward the new model - called authentication because viewers would have to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number - was behind the move last week by Providence Equity Partners to cash out of Hulu after five years, these sources said.
As many of us here already know, Fox now delays access to new weekly episodes online unless you "authenticate" your "cable" subscription through your provider such as Dish Network. And reports indicate that Fox is negotiating with Comcast to set up the same arrangement, which is ironic since Comcast owns all the NBCU channels and they are both owners of Hulu.

Earlier this month the following news release was issued:
Avail-TVN, the leading digital media services company, today announced the launch of AnyView Authentication, the company's new managed service designed to give service providers a quick and easy route to offering TV Everywhere access to high quality, high demand content via programmers' federated content portals. AnyView Authentication allows service providers to securely authenticate and authorize subscribers to the TV Everywhere portals of major content providers such as Fox, Turner Networks, MTV Networks, ESPN, NBCU and HBO. Avail-TVN has also been approved as a third party vendor for authentication services to NBC's London 2012 Olympics programming.

Delivered as a managed service, AnyView Authentication includes real-time authentication and authorization to programmers' federated TV Everywhere content. AnyView Authentication links directly to portal authentication systems via the OATC and CableLabs Authentication standards where the programmer is using Adobe Pass (the primary security technology for programmers' federated content), or a proprietary authentication system such as HBO Go. In addition to managing the authentication process, Avail-TVN can manage all billing and support systems integration, provide an API for self-integration, or synchronize to service provider information via automated flat file exchange.

"AnyView Authentication enables service providers of any size the opportunity to quickly get in the game with a TV Everywhere service," said Laurie Lawrence, chief marketing officer, Avail-TVN. "The service is designed to help them get into multiplatform delivery quickly and easily, without the need for major investments or time-consuming implementation."

AnyView Authentication is available and delivers the following features & functions:
  • Quick and easy on-boarding for automated flat-file exchange
  • integration with authentication systems used by federated network programmers
  • Support for the familiar three-way authentication process used by content owners for existing VOD services
  • Fraud detection and notification
  • Monitoring and reporting for failures or operational issues
  • Password recovery
  • Scalability to support unlimited network programmer integrations
  • Scale-out caching to handle "flash crowds" in support of live events
  • Transaction reporting
  • A roadmap to broader TV Everywhere eco-system solutions
I wondered what Rupert Murdoch's News Corp had in mind when they told their local Fox affiliates to pay $1 per cable/satellite subscriber or cease being an affiliate. There was no confusion on Murdoch's part at all - you won't get access on line unless you are, in fact, a subscriber.

In the end, this authentication process could affect all streaming sources, perhaps even Netflix and Amazon.

Hall Of Fame
1,711 Posts
just as they're building a good customer base and convincing people to give up on illegal sources they go and do something like this.

One of Steve Jobs talking points with the record companies when he was setting up iTunes was that if you made the service easy to use and reasonably priced customers would flock to it and abandon file trading networks. Hulu & Amazon Prime do the same for TV. Demanding users have cable subscriptions and forcing them to jump through authentication screens will drive them away in droves.

Hall Of Fame
15,561 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yosoyellobo said:
How many people who don't have cable or satellite would this affect?
That's a big unknown because we are right at the beginning of this.

I was a little puzzled by Fox's move to delay access to current programming by 8 days without authentication from a provider. Now I feel a little slow as all my mind had to do was link the monthly $1 retrans fee pass through demand on Fox affiliates. Essentially Fox is saying "hey, if you're paying the $1 per month admission fee you can watch whatever we offer."

IMHO Fox's Hulu partners Disney/ABC and Comcast/NBCU won't be ignoring this. And, based on the news release from Avail-TVN, Turner Networks, MTV Networks, ESPN, NBCU and HBO are already instituting the model.

Many "cord cutters" to some extent rely upon current program streaming. And I assume some OTA viewers get caught up when they miss episodes.

Then there is the question about subscription streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. Over the longer term, I would expect to see the networks saying that a relatively small per-episode charge just isn't enough. Requiring "authentication" or monthly subscription revenue for each network or network group through the streaming service is not hard to imagine.

Regardless, it certainly confronts the "cord cutter" trend head on.

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.
15,541 Posts
Ah, the cord cutters! Is that what the whole move is about?

This company, if successful in lining up everyone, could displace Neilson, no? At least they'd have a huge data bank.... then Google buys 'em for 7 zillion dollars, and we'll get even more ads, and more tracking.

Don't like it, but it may be inevitable.
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