Ok. We all know that hulu.com and iTunes are super popular ways to get your TV fix via the Web, but would you continue (or start) subscribing to cable if it meant you could get the shows you want via the Net? According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, both Comcast and Time Warner are talking to cable networks about the idea.
The networks talking are the already net-friendly NBC Universal, Time Warner Inc, and Viacom Inc, which own such networks as MTV, TNT and USA. The idea would be that the cable companies would offer content that isn't already available via free-to-watch sites like hulu.com (which could be the beginning of the end for the site if it loses its contracts to cable operators).
It's unclear if the online venture would work much like hulu.com where you'd be able to watch shows when you want, with limited commercial interruptions, or if you'd have to watch as you would on TV, when the show airs. We're guessing the former if these cable companies know anything about the way people like to watch. More on that after the jump...
According to the WSJ, NBC Universal said it's "intrigued" by the idea, while MTV Networks said the idea is "a great testing ground." Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts says,"Online video is our friend, not our enemy." Word to that!
But we wonder if this is the best idea. With so many people opting to watch online vs. the TV, wouldn't it be better to offer an online only subscription that is a bit more wallet friendly than the traditional options? The reason so many people watch shows online is that a. it's cheap (if not totally free) and b. it allows them to only pay for what they want to watch. This goes back to my original complaint that most of us don't want to pay $100 for a bunch of channels that we don't even want.
If cable operators actually look and learn the ways we watch our shows online and create packages that compliment those watching habits they may actually curb illegal downloading and get more customers.
photo: screengrab from hulu.com