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Cable strategy for online videos to draw new attention with Comcast-NBC merger

brianroberts.jpgCustomers of Comcast and Time Warner soon will be able to get their TV service in a new way: on their computers. In an unusual coordinated rollout involving many of the biggest competitors, the cable industry is embarking on a project dubbed TV Everywhere aimed at shoring up its franchises in the Internet age.

The basic idea behind the initiative is this: Customers who pay for basic cable subscriptions will get to watch select shows such as "Entourage" and "Mad Men" for free on desktop computers, mobile phones and any other device approved by their cable provider. The online shows will not be available to non-subscribers.

The cable industry hopes the service will give customers a new reason to keep their subscriptions and discourage people from fleeing to online competitors such as, YouTube and Netflix. Verizon's television service and satellite companies Dish Network and Direct TV say they are considering similar models.

All of this has grabbed the attention of federal regulators, especially as Comcast and NBC Universal engage in merger talks. A deal could be announced as soon as Thursday.

Please read on for more details in the story in today's paper.

Photo: Comcast CEO Brian Roberts
credit: Michael Lewis, Fortune

By Cecilia Kang  |  December 3, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Comcast , Media , Online Video  
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Next: Update: Comcast-NBC Universal draws concerns by lawmakers, consumer groups

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