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MTV's Comedy Central Move Rankles Cable Companies

The trend of Webcasting, which in this case refers to the redistribution of TV shows on the Web, is not pleasing large cable operators. As Glenn Britt, CEO of Time Warner Cable, said recently, "Guess what? We do mind." That obvious response is the big reason that almost no cable TV shows appear on the Web (except on YouTube, of course). The reason is that cable and satellite systems pay large fees to networks for what they have seen as exclusive rights to their content.

Particularly surprising is the fact that Comedy Central will soon start Webcasting three of its shows-"The Colbert Report," "The Daily Show" and "South Park"-on parent MTV's sites as well as Comcast's Fancast. Unsurprisingly, Time Warner Cable and others aren't particularly happy about the move. As TWC spokesman Alexander Dudley says, "They can't have it both ways. If they put content they ask cable companies to pay for online for free, they are making it less valuable and we should be expected to pay less for it."

Comcast, however, which has seen some success with Fancast, its Web video service, is not so upset. That's because Fancast is part of the Comedy Central distribution plan. Meanwhile, MTV says it's looking to syndicate Comedy Central programs to other online sites as well. Stay tuned to this one.

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