Netflix Gets Its Own Cable Channel On Real TV, But Only A Few People Will Be Able To Tune In
Rejoice! Three cable companies have announced they will soon launch a channel that will broadcast 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and the occasional horror movie every night until you fall asleep. That's right: Netflix is getting its own cable channel. Netflix will be added as an app to TiVo DVR boxes throughout the country through a deal with three of the smaller cable providers: RCN, Grande Communications, and Atlantic Broadband.
Instead of having some sort of odd programming scheme featuring hours of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, as we assumed it would, viewers will be able to use Netflix as they do on their computers. The channel will be available only to those who are subscribers of one of the companies and Netflix, meaning that the deal isn't much different from owning a Roku.
Still, the new set up means that the you no longer have to purchase a separate device or switch between remote controls, and you're able to access the service through their normal cable provider. "Now, watching Netflix is as easy as changing the channel," Atlantic Broadband's chief marketing and strategy officer David Isenberg said in a statement.
Atlantic Broadband is a small Massachusetts-based subsidiary of Cogeco Cable Inc., that serves customers in Western Pennsylvania, Southern Florida, Maryland, Delaware, and parts of South Carolina. Grande Communications serves several cities in Texas, while RCN serves New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and other East Coast cities.
In total, the three companies serve approximately 700,000 customers, but only the fraction that pays for TiVo and Netflix will be able to access the new channel. Netflix has similar arrangements with European operators, but has been seeking to enter the U.S. market for several months.
The company has received some pushback because of its insistence that operators willing to cooperate directly connect to Netflix's servers, a process they say improves the quality of streaming video. Most companies have been unwilling to agree to those terms without compensation, and Netflix finally recently agreed to compensate Comcast Corp. for such a deal.
While the deal could have implications for the future of streaming-based companies, it is far too early to know if the model will work or if the relatively few consumers who can access the channel will respond positively.