Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) is on the verge of expanding its online video efforts from a small-scale HBO trial to a small-scale national test of its version of TV Everywhere with some of the same networks involved in Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) On Demand. The WSJ reports that the plans could be announced as early as Thursday but it’s been no secret that TWC has had this in the works for months.
Comcast On Demand started its 5,000-person national trial last month, testing the authentication technology that limits access to its cable subscribers while offering advertisers and programmers a chance to see how the multi-platform idea translates into reality. More than two dozen networks are involved, including CBS (NYSE: CBS) as the only broadcast net, Discovery Communications (NSDQ: DISCA), Time (NYSE: TWX) Warner’s TNT, TBS, HBO and Cinemax, Showtime and more.
TWC’s version would cover about 5,000 homes in multiple markets and would require filling out an online form, according to the Journal. Using HBO on Broadband in Wisconsin requires a TWC subscription to HBO, internet access through TWC’s Roadrunner ISP and a download to kick into gear. To pass the sniff test, TWC is going to have to make this service non-ISP specific — and to pass the consumer test, it needs to be as simple as pushing the on button. More as warranted.