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'Mobile Cable' – A Contradiction In Terms?
With all the talk of portable electronic devices serving as the television's complementary "second screen" and how cable companies are rushing to develop "TV Everywhere" apps that let subscribers watch what they want, when they want, Verizon's proposal of "mobile cable" would easily engender cheers from the tech press, right?
Well, not from GigaOm's Stacey Higginbotham, who counts the ways Verizon's idea warrants cries of foul instead of high fives.
Jumping off from a WSJ piece detailing Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams' plan to have an "integrated" mobile video service for pay TV subscribers in place by the end of the year, Higginbotham questions the consumer benefits of such an offering. So far, Verizon will have to jump through a number of regulatory hoops and will need to purchase spectrum licenses from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications.
The key feature of the service is that it might have some kind of a la carte model, where consumers just purchase individual channels or programs, instead of the traditional cable bundle. Entertainment companies and smaller networks have tended to resist that sort of pricing, since it would naturally under cut their current businesses.
Anyway, for consumers, the prospect of more video on their phones sounds terrific at first blush – but the rub appears to be that consumers would have to pay more – and more. Currently, most TV Everywhere services are tied to wi-fi supplied by a cable company in the home. The HBO Go app is an exception, though it does let viewers block the app when they're not tethered to wi-fi. After all, phone companies are starting to hit subscribers with higher data plan fees, and video eats up a ton of bandwidth.Email This Post