Today in Connected Consumer

At GigaOm’s paidContent 2012 conference in New York yesterday, News Corp. chief digital officer Jon Miller drew an important distinction between TV Everywhere, which he defined as cable or satellite operators’ efforts to offer subscribers online access to the content they already pay for, and authenticated online services, which he defined as the network’s own consumer facing online offerings for which consumers must prove they subscribe to some pay-TV service in order to gain access. Balancing the inherent tension between a network’s own direct-to-consumer business with its business-to-business relationship with cable operators, Miller said, is one of the key strategic challenges facing media companies today. Just how tense that tension can be was on display up in Boston this week, where the annual Cable Show is under way. Speaking at the closing general session yesterday, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes urged operators to “let the consumer use the interface they want” to access content, whether online or off. In a separate interview, however, Glenn Britt, the CEO of Time Warner Cable, which is no longer affiliated with Time Warner, complained that operators’ own interfaces are being cluttered up with a lot of channels consumers don’t really want because the networks use their leverage to force operators to carry them. Sounds like a perfect balance.

Cable exec: “Netflix is our frenemy”

Just what do you call a company that hurts and helps your business at the same time? With Netflix draining ratings for some programs, spiking the performance of others, and all the while increasing broadband sales, Cox Communications’ Patrick Esser came up with the perfect term.

Today in Connected Consumer

Apple is having a pretty good Cable Show this week, considering it isn’t there. Comcast unveiled its new X1 cable/DVR set-top box that adds smart TV-like functionality to non-connected TV sets, including integration of a variety of WiFi-powered apps. The new box also integrates with iOS devices via a new remote control app. The app lets users navigate the TV interface using swipe controls, putting iOS devices at the center of the TV experience. The most interesting iOS integration, however, was announced by TiVo, which unveiled a new external transcoder box that will stream DVR content to iOS devices. The new service, called TiVo Stream, will also support downloading of DVR-recorded content to iOS device for viewing offline, which raises the interesting question of whether Apple and TiVo will eventually add storage of DVR content in iCloud as well. In any case, the Comcast and TiVo integrations underscore Apple’s ability to extend the iCloud/App Store platform into the digital living room through partnerships, creating a kind of virtual Apple TV without ever introducing its own big-screen set.

Did the cloud just kill the set-top box?

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts showed off the company’s new user interface today. But more important than the improved search, personalization and social features are how they’re delivered: using a cloud-based model, Comcast will be able to accelerate innovation and add features more quickly and easily.

Time Warner’s Bewkes: ‘This is not the music industry’

Despite worries over competition from over-the-top video services and the possibility of cord cutting, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the cable industry was doing better than ever. That said, the industry still needs to work together to meet consumer demand for new services.