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 Netflix Gets Own Channel On Three Cable TV Services

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PostSubject: Netflix Gets Own Channel On Three Cable TV Services   Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:43 am

BY ISSIE LAPOWSKY 04.25.14 | 1:03 PM



In yet another sign that the internet is eating traditional television, Netflix announced on Friday that it has inked a deal with three cable TV companies to make watching Netflix as easy as changing the channel.

For Netflix — a main way that people stream TV shows and movies over the internet — this deal is the first of its kind. It’s also a definitive sign that traditional cable companies, particularly small ones, are realizing they need to bridge the gap with internet TV in order to survive. Under the agreement, cable companies RCN, Grande Communications, and Atlantic Broadband will offer access to the Netflix service straight from their TV set-top boxes.

The agreement is part of a much larger trend in which traditional television is merging with internet video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video. Just this week, HBO unveiled an unprecedented partnership with Amazon to offer unlimited streaming of its older series on Prime Instant. Meanwhile, Amazon has just released its own set-top box, Fire TV, which allows users to stream shows onto their televisions from Netflix, Prime Instant, and other services.

If successful, Fire will be a further demonstration of how internet companies are shaking up the TV watching experience for the average couch potato. And in this new partnership with Netflix, cable companies are making an obvious play to stay relevant in a market that’s slowly slipping from their grasp.

The cable outfits involved in the deal are relatively small, covering only about 500,000 people across the country, according to The Washington Post. But they’re putting Netflix right alongside traditional cable channels. Subscribers must have a specific TiVo box provided by the cable companies, and they must have a Netflix account, but once everything is set up, the experience should be seamless.

“If you’re an RCN customer, perhaps in the D.C. area you would pick up your remote control, you would tune to Channel 450, and there you’d find Netflix. You’d select it and that’ll launch the Netflix app,” David Isenberg, chief marketing officer for Atlantic Broadband told the Post.

Netflix is already available on set-top boxes, like Roku and even TiVo. This is merely the first time a cable company is integrating Netflix into its own offerings. By making nice with Netflix, the cable providers are clearly hoping a perk like this will convince existing subscribers not to cancel their cable subscriptions in favor of cheaper online alternatives.

But Netflix may be hoping for the opposite effect. If the company can hook the millions of people who aren’t yet cord cutters on its convenient video streaming service, it could become an even bigger threat to traditional TV.

http://www.wired.com/2014/04/netflix-cable/
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