Media Data Breaches May Impact Direct-To-Consumer Transactions

Trusting your cable provider can be an increasingly tough thing. Forget about high prices forcing many to cut the cord. Now, some of those companies can’t even keep your consumer data safe.

If you have been one of an estimated 4 million Time Warner Cable customers in the last seven years -- and possibly used the MyTWC app -- it looks like someone you shouldn’t trust has your data.

Charter Communications -- owners of Time Warner Cable -- acknowledged this after investigators examined an unrelated breach at World Wrestling Entertainment. Charter completed a deal for Time Warner Cable 16 months ago and renamed that business Spectrum.

Data in jeopardy includes names, addresses, account numbers and other billing information.

It would be hard to put the blame just on pay TV providers or TV networks or other TV intermediaries when it comes to direct-to-consumer transactions. As a consumer-oriented business, Time Warner Cable isn’t alone. Many such businesses have seen massive breaches of data in recent years -- including Yahoo, Target, AOL, Home Depot, Anthem Blue Cross and JP Morgan Chase.



But it seems to have an effect on millennials and other consumers who are leery about long-term, big-pay TV media -- a business that is undergoing major transitions.

Cord-cutting and cord-shaving make many executives nervous. Tangential collateral damage has been felt by TV network groups, like Disney-ABC Television, which have been slowly cutting costs -- in particular, the number of employees.

While cost-cutting goes on even in the best of times, TV groups have been responding to the ongoing erosion of pay TV subscribers -- currently around 3%. And more is on the way.

TV producers took data hits before, but mostly in intellectual property. The biggest was Sony Pictures Entertainment in November 2014. More recently, some Netflix and HBO show information was hacked. For HBO, this was a key concern for the premium cabler's “Game of Thrones” episodes.

So what area of the media comes next?

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