If you’re frustrated that HBO doesn’t make Game of Thrones and other hit shows available to watch on the web shortly after they air, then you might have Time Warner Cable to thank. Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that Time Warner Cable “and other pay-TV operators are offering incentives to media companies that agree to withhold content from Web-based entertainment services” that “can take the form of higher payments or… threats to drop programming.” Bloomberg says that such incentives are part of Time Warner Cable’s efforts “to keep customers by ensuring access to exclusive content while fending off competition from upstart Web providers.”
Major Internet service providers in the United States have long taken a beating in customer satisfaction surveys, but the latest survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index has the grimmest news yet for American ISPs: They now have the lowest customer satisfaction ranking of any industry in America, worse than even airlines, health insurance companies and gas stations. The survey shows that American consumers are particularly unhappy with ISPs’ call center service, with the variety of Internet plans they offer and with their quality of online video streaming. More →
We may now have a clue about how Time Warner Cable plans to implement its own Aereo-like service. Unnamed sources have told Bloomberg that Time Warner Cable is considering buying an equity stake in Hulu and “could offer Hulu to its customers as a bundled service inside and outside of the home with its current products,” meaning customers could access their favorite shows on Hulu without paying a monthly subscription fee for Hulu Plus. Under the plan being discussed, Time Warner Cable would take a 33% stake in Hulu with the rest held by co-owners Disney, Comcast and News Corp. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt recently said that the cable industry’s “structure needs more flexibility” and that he wants to offer customers “smaller, more affordable packages” that don’t cost them upward of $100 a month.
As amazing as it sounds, it seems that Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt really does understand that customers are sick and tired of forking over large amounts of cash every month for cable television and Internet bundles. In an interview with The Washington Post, Britt said that the cable industry’s “structure needs more flexibility” and that he wants to offer customers “smaller, more affordable packages” that don’t cost them upward of $100 a month. To accomplish this, Britt says he’s considering following in the footsteps of controversial website Aereo, which streams over-the-air television over the Internet and lets users record their favorite shows for $10 a month. More →
There’s little doubt that Google Fiber is forcing rivals to be more competitive, and another instance of Google’s Internet service forcing rival ISP’s hand has emerged. Now that Time Warner Cable is realizing that criticizing Google’s revolutionary Internet service won’t make it go away, the New York-based ISP admitted in a recent blog post that it is being forced — sorry, “encouraged” — to change its plans in Austin, Texas as a result of the coming competition from Google Fiber. More →
Time Warner Cable (TWC) doesn’t seem too concerned about Google’s (GOOG) ultrafast fiber service encroaching on yet another one of its territories by launching in Austin this week. In a statement given to The Wall Street Journal, a Time Warner Cable spokesperson said that the company is “prepared for added competition and believe that any innovation in broadband technology is good for all of us.” Praising Google for providing “innovation in broadband technology” is an intriguing thing for Time Warner Cable to say since its CTO earlier this year said that the company doesn’t plan to build out fiber to the home because there’s no evidence that American consumers actually want super-fast networks. It will be interesting to see if Google Fiber’s plan to expand to more markets spurs more aggressive network upgrade investments from rival ISPs, especially ISPs that have been dismissive about the need to boost network speeds.
By now you’ve probably read the comments from Time Warner Cable (TWC) CTO Irene Esteves explaining that her company doesn’t plan to build out fiber to the home because there’s no evidence that American consumers actually want super-fast networks. While a lot of people expressed surprise in response to this attitude, it’s actually been a common refrain from the cable industry and its defenders for quite some time now — let’s recall that National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell recently described achieving gigabit speeds as an “irrelevant exercise in bragging rights.” That this attitude isn’t just consigned to one company but is apparently held by the entire industry indicates that the market for home broadband in the United States is horrendously uncompetitive and is in desperate need of a shakeup. More →
Consumers have lined up for the gigabit speeds of Google’s high-speed Internet service, unfortunately it is only offered in Kansas City. The company has teased expanding the service to additional markets, but until then consumers are forced to rely on traditional cable companies for less than stellar speeds. Despite the success of Google Fiber, Time Warner Cable’s (TWC) chief financial officer Irene Esteves claimed consumers don’t want breakneck Internet speeds. More →
Just days after getting dinged by Netflix (NFLX) for having one of the slower cable Internet services out there, Time Warner Cable (TWC) has announced plans to increase download speeds for its Standard Internet service by 50%, from 10Mbps to 15Mbps. Time Warner Cable says that all current “standard” customers will “get the speeds automatically when they are rolled out to your division,” so there’s no need to do anything extra to get faster web services. Netflix earlier this month released data on which ISPs delivered the fastest average Netflix streams and found that Time Warner Cable ranked seventh behind services such as Google (GOOG) Fiber, Verizon (VZ) FiOS and Comcast (CMCSA).
How would you like to start paying overage fees for watching too many cute cat videos on your home broadband connection? If so, Time Warner Cable (TWC) has a plan for you! LightReading reports that Time Warner Cable is planning to bring its usage-based broadband plans nationwide by giving customers the option of getting $5 “discounts” if they agree to consume less than 5GB of data per month. According to LightReading, Time Warner’s metered data plan ”lets customers consume five gigabytes per month before being charged $1 per GB above that threshold, but not to exceed $25 per month.” The company still will offer its unlimited usage plans to customers, of course, and it says that its usage-based plans are only targeted toward customers who have relatively light usage.
Consumer Reports has released its annual list of companies that were “naughty and nice” for the holiday season, and wouldn’t you know it, the magazine listed most of the cable industry as “naughty.” The publication singled out Time Warner Cable (TWC) for its recently-adopted practice of charging customers monthly fees of $3.95 for leasing out cable modems, although it also said that this practice has been adopted by most major players in the industry including Comcast (CMCSA), Cox and Bright House. Consumer Reports wrote that although the companies “allow customers to purchase and install their own modems outright, less-tech-savvy folks might be reluctant, assuring the companies a steady stream of extra revenue.”
“Innovative” is probably not the word you use to describe your cable company. But Reuters reports that major players such as Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) are trying to change all that by opening up a new research center in Silicon Valley. The research center will be headed up by CableLabs, “a nonprofit research and development consortium established by the industry,” and will “work on projects with startups and established firms; hire engineers; and engage leading universities such as Stanford in experimenting on new tech.” Charter Communications cofounder Jerald Kent told Reuters that the entire industry needs to “get re-energized” to figure out how to compete with Web-based video for viewers and how to improve its own technology to keep up with initiatives such as Google (GOOG) Fiber.
Google (GOOG) was offered a large number of incentives from the government of Kansas City to bring its fiber optic service to its neighborhoods. The Internet giant was allowed to skirt regulations and provided with special privileges such as discounted services, free fiber and access to government employees, buildings and infrastructure. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and AT&T (T) have been in negotiations with Kansas City officials for a “parity agreement” granting the two companies the same benefits Google received. More →