I Want My Free TV

As Google Wires Kansas City, Looks Like Time Warner Is Asking Employees for Scuttlebutt

The all-seeing eye must know all. (Photo: Link text)

Are you a Kansas City employee of Time Warner Cable? Are you also, perchance, an amateur sleuth? Well, get out your magnifying glass and your deerstalker cap, because your corporate overlord wants something investigated.

Let’s back up. Kansas City is a pilot location for Google Fiber, an experiment in ultra high-speed Internet access. It’s not clear entirely Read More

Password Pity

Celebrities and Socialites Can’t Remember Their Passwords, Either

Poor Parker Posey (Photo: The Cinema Source)

Stars, they’re just like us: Unable to remember the plethora of gibberish passwords dictated by our countless web accounts. Of course, this is an entirely common problem, one experienced by the famous and non-famous alike. But this is also the New York Times Styles section, and talking to rich people is much more fun.

The actress Parker Posey writes her passwords on scraps of paper before promptly forgetting what website they’re for. The musician Courtney Love uses mnemonics that correlate to her favorite songs. Lawyer Olivia Kraus is outraged that security questions play favorites, like “What’s your favorite food?”

“The whole favorite thing is so juvenile,” she told the paper of record. Read More

Cordcutting

Over the Aereo: Killer Diller Just Might Help Viewers Cut the Cord At Last

Picture 64

The sun was still setting when The Observer rounded the corner under The High Line for IAC’s Internet Week closing party, co-hosted by Aereo, a provocative new startup that will allow users to view broadcast content on their computers, smartphones and tablets. Off the drab West Side Highway, the Frank Gehry-designed building shimmered like a landing dock for a space ship–as if the top could twist off and whir its way into the atmosphere. Will Arnett and Wilmer Valderrama walked the red carpet. Dolled-up in pale pink, Allison Williams (the Miranda to Lena Dunham’s Carrie) took Barry Diller’s elbow as she navigated the crowd.

As the origin myth has it, Mr. Diller’s transformation from a Hollywood mogul to Internet soothsayer for this new digital era started with an Apple PowerBook. “No question that his relationship with his little screen, which is irritating to everybody in the room, has altered his life,” his closest confidante and now wife Diane von Furstenberg told The New Yorker some years back.

It was the early ’90s—right around the time Rupert Murdoch refused to make Mr. Diller a principal at Fox, the fabled fourth network Mr. Diller pioneered when competitors insisted that three would do just fine. Read More

Cordcutting

Time Warner Cable Subsidizes Slingbox. TV Programmers Beware.

slingbox

To both cable TV distributors and cable TV programmers, the possibility that consumers will finally cut that cord probably sounds like a slashing sound somewhere near their their bottom line.  But at least one big distributor is choosing to adapt.

The New York Times reports that Time Warner Cable, one of the top cable and internet providers in the country, announced yesterday that it would soon be subsidizing the cost of Slingbox, a set-top device that untethers viewers from their home television screen and lets them watch programming from anywhere, including computers, mobile phones, or second homes.

Based on Time Warner’s recent legal battles with Viacom, which owns channels such as MTV and Nickelodeon, Viacom isn’t going to be very happy about getting shot in the foot. Read More

Cordcutting

Cable Companies’ Solution to the Internet: Guess We’re Gonna Have to Sell Better Porn?

Preemium content?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a cable company once in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a new revenue stream. In fact, cable and satellite companies have lost such a sizable chunk of the self-pleasuring market that they’re finally admitting, out loud, that they have a pornography problem.

The Wall Street Journal reports that recent weak pay-per-view and video-on-demand earnings reports from the likes of Time Warner Cable and DirecTV are prompting the companies to disclose that, when it was good, porn was a highly-profitable business for them. The paper says that cable companies used to have their own dirty little secret: they once commanded margins of over 90 percent on renting “generally interchangeable” (i.e. ho-hum) porn titles. Read More