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Time Warner Cable reportedly offering incentives to keep video content offline


It's no real secret that TV giants like Time Warner Cable have formal agreements which prevent video from going online -- like it or not, that's the nature of content exclusives and windowing. However, the anti-internet strategy may be considerably murkier. Bloomberg hears from sources that TWC and its peers offer "incentives" to keep video content offline, whether they're sweeter deals or threats of losing existing programming arrangements. While the assertions aren't surprising given a protectionist industry, they're still quite serious -- they suggest that operators unfairly prevent content producers from treating online services as equals to old-fashioned TV. TWC isn't accepting any of the accusations, as you'd imagine. The provider doesn't directly acknowledge Bloomberg's claims in a statement to Engadget; instead, it argues that exclusives of all kinds are virtually necessary for competition. That's a tricky position to hold when many viewers don't like exclusives in the first place, but you can judge its legitimacy for yourself by reading the full statement after the break.

[Image credit: TWC Untangled]

"It is absurd to suggest that, in today's highly competitive video marketplace, obtaining some level of exclusivity is anticompetitive. Exclusivities and windows are extremely common in the entertainment industry; that's exactly how entertainment companies compete. This is why, for example, you can only watch Fast and Furious 6 in a movie theater (not in your living room), Sunday Ticket on DirecTV, and the new Arrested Development episodes on Netflix. In fact, the amount and scope of exclusivity and windowing in Time Warner Cable's arrangements with programmers pales by comparison to that found between other players in the entertainment ecosystem."

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