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Summary:

Some day, your grandchildren will sit at your feet and marvel as you spin the yarn of the great online video revolution. With mouths agape they’ll listen as you recall a simpler time when all the video content you could ever want was ad-supported and free […]

Some day, your grandchildren will sit at your feet and marvel as you spin the yarn of the great online video revolution. With mouths agape they’ll listen as you recall a simpler time when all the video content you could ever want was ad-supported and free on the web, right there for the pluckin’. Oh-ho, it was sweet. That is, until the Winter of ’09, when the cold hearts at the Hollywood studios and the multi-service operators decided it was time to pay up.

In the same week that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes outlined his studio’s plan for TV Everywhere, Viacom has now talked up its similar initiative to make sure that before you watch an episode of The Hills online, you prove that you are already a cable subscriber. From MediaPost:

CEO Philippe Dauman said this week that Viacom has been working with cable operators to develop some sort of “authentication” process, in which visitors to ComedyCentral.com might need to enter a user name and password to watch a full version of “The Daily Show.”

The two media conglomerates join ESPN, which said last fall it too was exploring authentication technology. Viacom says it wants the verification process to be seamless, but if we were in an old Cold War movie, this would be the part where the Soviet guard walks up to you and says “Papers, please.” A climactic chase scene would ensue.

That’s not to say the media companies and cable operators are the evil empire. I mean they are, but just like everyone else, they have to get paid. Cable operators pay them a hefty fee to carry shows like The Hills, and they aren’t too keen on the networks turning around and putting Heidi and Spencer online for free. The networks love all that money they get from the cable operators, and they aren’t eager to upset that apple cart.

While details of this new online video world order are still being worked out among programmers and operators, this is surely going to wind up a mess. I don’t mind paying for content, but how much information will I need to provide in order to watch Rock of Love online? Will I need a PIN or a password? Or will it go even further and use facial recognition (don’t laugh, Comcast already had ideas about watching you in your living room)? And if history has shown us anything, it’s that inconvenient roadblocks thrown up before providing access to content will just drive people to piracy. That would be an unhappy ending for everyone.

  1. Hello FacebookVideoConnect?

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  2. Chris Albrecht Thursday, March 5, 2009

    @Robert,

    That’s a good thought.

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  3. If your on a cable connection shouldn’t the cable company know that you subscribe to thier TV service and automaicly authenticate .

    But that would no good for Road warriors who pay for cable at home and want it on the road ,

    Theres also a whole lot of net neutrality issues with this scheme I suppose they will fight that battle when it comes from the FCC.

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  4. [...] Media Companies Plan Weapons of Mass Authentication « NewTeeVee "While details of this new online video world order are still being worked out among programmers and operators, this is surely going to wind up a mess. I don’t mind paying for content, but how much information will I need to provide in order to watch Rock of Love online? Will I need a PIN or a password? Or will it go even further and use facial recognition (don’t laugh, Comcast already had ideas about watching you in your living room)? And if history has shown us anything, it’s that inconvenient roadblocks thrown up before providing access to content will just drive people to piracy. That would be an unhappy ending for everyone." (tags: television authentication) [...]

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  5. [...] that own the content drop their exclusive with Hulu and decide to go it alone, or require you to prove you have a cable subscription in order to watch video [...]

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  6. [...] the topic of new initiatives like TV Everywhere and On-Demand Online, which would require users to verify that they pay a multi-service operator for television in order to watch content online, Zucker was [...]

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  7. [...] scenarios for online video. The entrenched players traditional video reassert themselves online (a la Comcast and Time Warner’s authentication plans); piracy destroys the value of copyrighted content; or telcos and Internet service providers (ISPs) [...]

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  8. [...] in the next five to six weeks. And as cable companies like Comcast, which is a Canoe backer, move more into online video there’s no reason to think Canoe wouldn’t connect those dots as [...]

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  9. [...] announcements in the next 5-6 weeks. And as cable companies like Comcast, which is a Canoe backer, move more into online video, there’s no reason to think Canoe wouldn’t connect those dots as [...]

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  10. [...] When asked if he expected additional payments to be a requirement to access his company’s TV Everywhere, Bewkes simply said [...]

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  11. [...] up to be the big trend of 2009; Time Warner, Viacom and Comcast are already working on their own authentication systems. As for NBC, the network was particularly stingy with its online coverage of last summer’s [...]

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  12. [...] media” will be in two years between online video being piped directly to television sets and authentication plans from the big operators and media [...]

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  13. [...] the YouTube integration, and YouTube on your TV is available through many other devices. Given the push towards authentication, it’s unlikely that full-length episodes from Brightcove’s big TV networks like MTV or [...]

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  14. [...] industry sees those big audience numbers, panics, and looks to put content from the cable networks behind authentication walls. Comcast is aggressively pushing this issue forward with Fancast, and working over time to secure [...]

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  15. [...] business. So they’re prepping more and better access to television content online that would require proof that viewers are paying subscribers. Comcast calls it “On Demand Online” and Time [...]

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  16. [...] We too like the idea of remote storage DVRs and are glad to see the DOJ made the decision it did. Of course, we’ve also wondered if technology has leap-frogged the whole mess. With Hulu and just about every network putting its content online, watching TV programs whenever you want is easier than ever. Even cable companies are getting into the online video game with their authentication plans. [...]

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  17. [...] Media Companies Plan Weapons of Mass Authentication Posted by root 50 minutes ago (http://newteevee.com) The topic of new initiatives like tv everywhere and on demand online if your comment doesn 39 t show up immediately it may have gotten caught in our trusty but marketing consulting by acs idg technetwork middot powered by wordpress com Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Media Companies Plan Weapons of Mass Authentication [...]

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  18. [...] Authentication is the big buzzword for 2009 as more providers are putting select content behind some kind of subscription wall. But as Staci Kramer over at paidContent points out, this additional fee appears to be taking things one step further, requiring subscribers to pay twice to watch their local games — once for TV and again for online. [...]

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  19. [...] and others such as Viacom have been championing their own authentication systems. There is a massive battle brewing where [...]

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  20. [...] and others such as Viacom have been championing their own authentication systems. There is a massive battle brewing where [...]

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  21. [...] Everywhere is an authentication system whereby certain premium content (TV shows, movies, etc.) are available online — but only if [...]

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  22. [...] and others such as Viacom have been championing their own authentication systems. There is a massive battle brewing where [...]

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  23. [...] Everywhere is an authentication system whereby certain premium content (TV shows, movies, etc.) are available online — but only if you [...]

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  24. [...] defined by NewTeeVee: TV Everywhere is an authentication system whereby certain premium content (TV shows, movies, etc.) are available online — but only if you [...]

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  25. After reading this article it really does make me wonder about how far authentication will go. We work to ensure authentication for coporations, when data is in need of protection, but TV? I am a constant Hulu watcher, and if they created an authentication protocol where I could only watched if I get the channel on my TV, then the site would become pointless for me.

    Great Article!
    Security Threats From Employees

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  26. [...] Everywhere is an authentication system whereby certain premium content (TV shows, movies, etc.) are available online — but only if you [...]

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  27. [...] to give web video access to satellite, telco and especially cable subscribers have centered on authentication — i.e., how do would-be viewers prove they’re subscribers — there’s [...]

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  28. [...] has cable and content distribution companies scrambling to reach on the defensive.  Things like authentication — only being able to view the television after entering a password and user name — will [...]

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