Walt Disney Co Chief Executive Bob Iger expressed caution over the US cable industry’s move to restrict online viewing of television shows to cable subscribers, saying that the limits could provoke backlash from consumers.
Speaking at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Cable Show in Washington Thursday morning, Iger said, “With authentication in place, streaming full networks online would be an interesting and potentially compelling feature for consumers.”
Iger said he prefers the option of putting everything online under the right conditions to trying to keep all content off the Web.
The consumer is king, not us the content provider and not you the distributor, he said.
Disney led major changes in the cable industry a few years ago when it first announced it would begin offering its top broadcast TV shows online for free on its website, ABC.com. Deals like these bypass existing relationships with the cable TV industry.
Earlier this week, Disney struck a deal to offer clips of some shows from ABC and ESPN on Google’s YouTube online video service. Disney is currently in advanced negotiations with Hulu in a deal to offer full-length shows from some of its networks on the Hulu online video service, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Hulu is a joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp.
Disney shares recently rose $1.46, or 7.7%, to $20.25 in afternoon trading.