Mobile Video - Top cable technologies in 2013


While Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other pay TV distributors have been allowing subscribers to view live programming on mobile devices within their own homes for more than two years, rights issues have limited their ability to let subscribers watch live programming on mobile devices outside the home. Most multichannel providers also haven't been able to allow subscribers to download content to mobile devices for out-of-home viewing. But rights deals distributors are striking with programmers such as Fox and Showtime could make 2013 a big year for delivering video to subscribers on mobile devices wherever they are.

In December, Comcast announced that it was adding download-to-go capabilities to its Xfinity TV Player app for mobile devices. The MSO said that subscribers will initially be able to download content from Showtime, Starz, Encore and Movieplex to mobile devices for offline viewing in trains, cars, airplanes and other places where they don't have access to the Internet.

Time Warner Cable COO Rob Marcus told analysts in January that the nation's second largest cable MSO will soon add "out of home" programming to the TWC TV apps it has developed for Apple's iPad and iPhone, and Android devices. With TWC TV generating more than 750,000 unique users in December, usage will likely increase if the MSO lets subscribers use the app to watch programming outside the home.

Showtime and Starz were the first cable programmers to sign deals with Comcast that allow its subscribers to download TV shows and movies to mobile devices for offline viewing. In January, Comcast struck a deal with News Corp. that includes terms that will allow subscribers to download Fox programming to mobile devices. As the contracts that Fox and other programmers have with other pay distributors come up for renewal, look for terms for live mobile video and download-to-go options to be included in the deals.