Friday, January 18, 2008

Time Warner's 'variable pricing' red herring


Media 3.0 dude, Shelly Palmer, has two side by side tidbits on his site today.

One is how Time Warner is planning to charge for bandwidth. The second is how COMSCORE says video stats are going through the roof.

TIME WARNER CABLE is planning to experiment with new variable pricing for Internet access, charging users based on the amount of data downloaded. Tiered data packages will be available similar to the way a phone plan is purchased. A company spokesman says 5% of users take up 50% of network capacity by downloading large amounts of data. Trials are expected to begin in Q2.

COMSCORE has released its latest online video stats, revealing that Americans viewed 9.5 billion online videos during November. Google video sites delivered 31% of all videos and 41.8% of the 138 million viewers. The average YouTube viewer watched 39 videos during the month. MySpace, the second top video site, saw an average of only 9 videos per viewer. The average amount of monthly viewing increased from 3 hours to 3.25 hours.

This 'variable pricing for interenet access' is a red herring on Time Warners part. They want a tiered internet so they can charge more money. Not a bad thing in itself, business is business and maximizing profits is built into a businesses DNA. But not so if they're the primary bandwidth provider with monopoly or near monopoly status.

The Texas state Public Utilities Commission should say to Time Warner: No problem, do your variable pricing thing, but if you do we're forcing you to open your near monopoly network to other providers at wholesale prices that we set.

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