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Eric Elia

Welcome to the 39th episode of “The Mediatwits,” the weekly audio podcast from MediaShift. The co-hosts are MediaShift’s Mark Glaser and Brightcove’s Eric Elia, who is filling in for Rafat Ali. This week we convene a special roundtable to talk about one of our favorite subjects: cutting the cord to cable TV! We had hoped that a Comcast executive would join us, but he had to cancel at the last minute. Fortunately, we still had a stellar lineup of guests: Wall Street Journal’s Ben Schechner, NewTeeVee’s Ryan Lawler and Free Press’ Jenn Ettinger.

The big news of the week was that cable giant Comcast announced its own streaming service called Xfinity Streampix, which is only offered to cable subscribers. They either pay $4.99 per month for the add-on service or it’s free for people in the higher tiers of service. Will it keep people from cutting the cord and dumping Comcast? Also, Google has been laying fiber optic lines in Kansas City for a test run of a possible pay TV service. What does the search giant have up its sleeve?

Check it out!


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Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio’s Music Alley.

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Sam Schechner

Here are some highlighted topics from the show:


1:20: Cord-cutting special trying to take multiple views

3:00: Eric tried to quit Comcast, but got an offer he couldn’t refuse

5:20: Why can’t we get just the channels and shows we want?

6:30: Call to cancel to get a better cable TV rate

7:10: Rundown of topics on the show

Roundtable discussion: Comcast Streampix

8:10: Special guests Ryan Lawler, Sam Schechner, Jenn Ettinger

11:20: Lawler: Not really a Netflix killer, but a way to keep people on cable

Jenn Ettinger

13:10: Ettinger: Cable companies lobby for policies that aren’t consumer-friendly

15:10: Eric: Too expensive for a competitor to lay their own cable to compete

Can we get shows on-demand?

18:00: Schechner: ESPN has contract that it has to be on all bundles

21:20: Still missing shows when you cut the cord

23:45: Disney has no interest in breaking apart the cable bundles

Google fiber plans

24:10: Could Google be a viable competitor to cable?

25:15: Apple, Google could buy media companies but won’t

26:10: What about original shows produced by Netflix, Hulu?

29:30: Many people don’t realize they can get HD broadcast channels over the air

More Reading

Comcast Takes Aim at Netflix at WSJ

Comcast gives subscribers one more reason to quit Netflix at GigaOm

Comcast Takes Aim At Netflix With Streampix at Multichannel News

Cable Lifts Comcast+ at WSJ

Ryan Lawler

Google ready to launch pilot pay-TV program in Kansas City at NY Post

What does Google Fiber mean for the future of TV? at NewTeeVee

Google Aims to Offer Kansas City TV+ at WSJ

Over-the-Air TV Catches Second Wind, Aided by Web at WSJ

When does sharing become stealing? at NewTeeVee

Weekly Poll

Don’t forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time about cutting the cord:

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+