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Time Warner Cable reportedly paying producers to keep TV off the web (update)

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While there's a growing population of cord-cutters — those who get their TV from the internet rather than traditional cable services — there's still a large amount of content (like sports and HBO) that just isn't available online in a timely fashion. According to Bloomberg, that's partly because cable companies like Time Warner Cable are offering incentives to media companies and content providers to keep their shows off of internet services. Bloomberg's unnamed sources said those incentives were typically either more money or the threat of dropping programming from the media company, though there were no specific examples of companies that have been strongarmed in such a fashion.

TWC's CEO Glenn Britt made a statement at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association yesterday in which he essentially admitted his company had contracts in place with media companies that carried such restrictions. "We may well have ones that have that prohibition," Britt said. Other executives were a bit less forthcoming. "It's in everybody's mutual interest that we are protecting the ecosystem in a way that continues to keep the value of that programming that we have and the way it's delivered to our subscribers today," said Charter Communications CFO Chris Winfrey. Spokespersons for both companies declined to elaborate further. HBO, for one, has already said that the downsides of opening up HBO Go to those who aren't cable subscribers outweigh the benefits — is extra cash from the cable companies part of its reasoning?

Update: Time Warner Cable defended Britt's statements on Wednesday, telling Variety that "the amount and scope of exclusivity and windowing in Time Warner Cable’s arrangements with programmers pales by comparison to that found between other players in the entertainment ecosystem." After Britt's comments went public, there has been a bit of backlash, with some calling the company's moves anticompetitive. The cable operator addresses these complaints too, saying that it's "absurd to suggest that, in today’s highly competitive video marketplace, obtaining some level of exclusivity is anticompetitive."