NBC Universal is making a big push to bring a lot more of its cable content online, with plans to make shows from USA Network, Syfy, and Oxygen available to cable subscribers with access on PCs, as well as on mobile phones, tablets, and other connected devices. To help it get there, it’s chosen thePlatform to manage distribution to all of those platforms.
The selection of thePlatform shouldn’t come as a huge surprise — after all, NBC Universal is majority-owned by Comcast and thePlatform is a wholly owned subsidiary of the cableco. And NBCU already uses thePlatform for distribution of video from a number of its other networks, including E!, NBC Local Media, NBC Sports Regional Networks, Sprout, Style, and the Golf Channel. Previously the networks had relied on their own internal systems for distribution.
But the bigger news here is that USA, Syfy, and Oxygen could soon be bringing their full-length programming online as part of independent TV Everywhere initiatives. Under TV Everywhere, cable subscribers “authenticate” or log in with their cable or satellite credentials to prove that they pay for certain cable networks, and then get access to additional on-demand — and in some cases, live — content online and on additional connected devices.
So far, the TV Everywhere charge has been led by HBO and its numerous mobile and connected TV apps, with a few other networks slowly following. ESPN, Disney, Showtime, and a few others have introduced their own TV Everywhere apps, but all-in-all, it’s been pretty slow going. On the distributor side, we’ve seen some major moves, most notably Comcast’s Xfinity TV apps and availability of its video on-demand service through Xbox Live.
It’s not clear how much content the NBCU properties will be bringing online, or if they’ll be launching their own apps or just riding on the apps of their distribution partners. While those decisions will be made on a network-by-network basis, thePlatform said that it will give them the capability to distribute both full-length and promotional material to subscribers and fans.
While thePlatform is best known for its big media and cable customers — including Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, Liberty Global, PBS, Rogers, Shaw Media, and Time Warner Cable — it recently made a push to expand beyond the high-end video distribution market. With the launch of mpx Essentials last week, thePlatform is now offering video management services to mid-market customers, with an offering priced at $499 a month.