Seth Shapiro's Business Innovation Blog

Posted by Seth Shapiro

The cable industry had a disappointment in NY this week when Cablevision lost the suit filed against it by the major studios and networks re so-called “Network DVR” technology.

The proposed service was an alternative to standard DVRs, which place hard drives in cusomer’s homes… in Cablevision’s model, customers instead recorded programs onto servers at the cable co’s headend. They could then play, rewind and otherwise manipulate the shows remotely. This would have been a great boon for cable, as it would require much less customer support and set-top hardware for in theory the same benefits as DVR. It’s also a competitive advantage that satellite cannot offer, since they have almost no server architecture.

The studios may not like DVR but they really hated this, arguing that this service should be governed by the rights governing Pay Per View, since in their view that’s what it amounts to. And the PPV model requires an additional payment to rightsholders, unlike a DVR recording.

We can see both sides, but for involved reasons it’s ultimately fair that creators be compensated for this model. As interesting a model as server-based DVR is, it truthfully smells more like PPV or VOD than DVR. Score two for the studios.

Leave a Reply