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Cable Companies Stave Off Web Video Threat

Sure, it's all about video these days--but what about Internet TV? No one is really watching a lot of TV content on the Web yet, but cable and telecom companies, Web portals, movie studios, even electronics providers are taking steps toward offering TV on the Web. Will consumers cut back on their cable and satellite-TV subscriptions as Apple Computer's iTunes, News Corp.'s MySpace and AOL's In2TV ramp up their online offerings? Cable companies are responding to the ITV movement by bulking up on video on demand, putting more content online and giving advertisers better targeting services. A recent report from Toronto-based Convergence Consulting Group Ltd. says MySpace, iTunes, and Google Video don't pose any near-term threat to cable providers, but longer-term is a different story. In fact, the Internet is driving cable subscriptions through bundled package subscriptions offered by cable providers, like Comcast. Even so, video consumption on the Web is growing fast. Here's a little perspective: Viral video sensation YouTube attracted more than 34 million uniques in August, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Cable provider Comcast has 24 million subscribers total in the U.S., and DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite provider, has 15 million.

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