Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR) is the first pay TV provider to integrate online video content from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Hulu with its TV Everywhere portal. The MSO said Tuesday that it will also let subscribers use mobile phones and tablets next year to search both online video from pay TV networks and over-the-top video providers, but it didn't announce plans to distribute OTT content through cable set-tops.
Charter next year will enable online video from providers like Netflix via its online portal. (Image source: Apple)
With Charter reporting Tuesday that it lost 64,500 video subscribers during the third quarter, its Charter.net announcement could help its marketing efforts since it can boast that it's offering subscribers something that rivals such as AT&T (NYSE: T) and DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) aren't doing through their Web portals. But Charter doesn't have a working relationship with Netflix, Amazon or Hulu - it's just helping to drive traffic to TV series and movies distributed by those providers. Most Charter subscribers who already use Amazon, Netflix or Hulu will likely continue to navigate directly to those sites, rather than use the Charter.net portal.
It would've been a much bigger deal if Charter had announced that it planned to distribute over-the-top video through its cable set-tops, or that it was allowing its customers to bundle subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus or Netflix with their monthly cable subscriptions. That's a strategy that TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) CEO Tom Rogers recently suggested cable MSOs pursue.
Charter spokeswoman Anita Lamont told FierceCable that the MSO would like to allow subscribers to search for Web video content from Hulu, Amazon and Netflix through their cable set-tops, but that rights issues prevent it from offering that fuction. "Right now, that functionality is essentially disabled on leased boxes due to programming rights issues. This is disappointing to us, and our customers, but we believe that it should and will change over time," Lamont said. "This is all very fluid, and we anticipate that the rights equation will change over time," she added.
- see the Charter release
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