MCN: You mentioned authentication. How are you moving along on that front?
I’ve spent time with all of our program partners and each of them has a slightly different take on it, but I think everyone recognizes that we want to provide more convenience to our consumers in the way they can consume the content, but we want to ensure that we don’t undermine the business model that creates the economics for us to create great content and, frankly, for us to be able to distribute it. And so it’s finding the balance between those two.
I certainly don’t believe that in this day and age you can restrict a consumer to only watching 60 Minutes
at 7 o’clock on Sunday night. You need to think differently, and frankly that’s why we’re investing in twice the capacity to record in our DVRs than our competition has. We’re going to continue to raise the bar around just what you can DVR through Direct TV and how you access that alone, in addition to other vehicles like authentication.
I think everyone is playing with a variety of different models. And we want to be active partners with our programmers as we do it.
MCN: How are the programmers reacting to this? Are they willing to step up to the table on authentication, or are they trying to hold back some programming for their own use online?
I don’t think you can generalize. What I can tell you is that we’ve had very constructive discussions with a number of our programming partners about ways to authenticate through multiple vehicles. As I said, right now we’ve got some trials going with Turner on TBS and TNT. com, as well as with CBS.com.
We’re having conversations with all of our programming partners about having a multidimensional strategy for serving the needs of our consumers when and where they want to consume the content without undermining the basic economic model that is, as I said, is really what has enabled us in this country to have far and away the most channels with the most variety and the best content far and away in the world. Most other countries, you’re lucky if you get 30 channels.