All CNN Video now pay for play.
March 29, 2002 3:22 PM   Subscribe

All CNN Video now pay for play. Marketed and sold through RealNetworks' RealOne subscription scheme at $4.95 a month or $39.95 a year. Is there enough demand for CNN Web video to support this?
posted by kokogiak (18 comments total)
I pass over pretty much anything that requires me to install anything from Real.
posted by tomorama at 3:30 PM on March 29, 2002

I wonder if the days of free web content are nearing their end. Just the other day, Yahoo annouced that it was going to start charging people who download email from their Yahoo accounts to a POP mail program. And of course, there is Salon charging people to access most of their articles. How depressing.
posted by boltman at 3:42 PM on March 29, 2002

CNN? If they're offering to pay me $4.95 a month to watch their crap, tell them I decline.
posted by mikegre at 3:43 PM on March 29, 2002

Ditto what tomo said.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2002

Okay, so given RealOne sucks as an app, but would you consider the offer if say, they offered it in streaming MP3 format, or some non-proprietary scheme? (Of course, I don't know how you'd avoid fraud in that case, but you get my drift). I have to honestly say "no", I wouldn't. In the present format, streaming web video is still painful to view. I can think of any number of news video clips I've seen linked on the Web, which I'll skip, thinking to myself "I'll just catch it later at home on TV" - rather than endure the slowness, plugin weirdness, and poor visual payoff.
posted by kokogiak at 3:53 PM on March 29, 2002

sound like they are trying to get some suckers to buy what they soon will just be able to capture. I can't blame them. At the root of any business venture is the desire to squeeze out every buck out of the consumer that one can.
posted by tsarfan at 4:02 PM on March 29, 2002

I'm not going to pay for blurry postage stamp-sized video of CNN when I can go home and turn on the television instead. Of all the things I've seen on CNN, the only thing I really wanted to see was the exclusive video they had on September 11th of the first plane hitting the building, and that was only because I was in an office and away from a television set of any kind.

I hardly see the demand for web video on CNN or any other news site, as it is usually crappy looking soundbites. The user experience of web video is terrible and I bet there won't be too many subscibers when the make the switch. How they choose to spin that story will be interesting.
posted by mathowie at 4:11 PM on March 29, 2002

They might have some glimmer of hope if they were offering live streaming or on-demand files of their various programs, at brodband speeds with high-quality video, but they're not. All they're offering is an embarassingly tiny selection of individual news reports, each about 1 to 2 minutes long. (I can't comment on the video quality, since RealHell is one of the worst tech companies on the planet, particularly towards Mac users, so I'll never give them a dime.)

This just goes back to the thread from the other day. Pirated feeds and on-demand FTP sites are starting to pop up; people are going to go there instead of to Real/CNN for the same reasons we go to free, "illegal" P2P services instead of buying albums and using "legit" services like Pressplay: The selection is better and the service is superior, to say nothing of the price!
posted by aaron at 4:31 PM on March 29, 2002

Why would anyone pay for CNN video when they can turn on the TV and see it for free? True, there's the convenience of news video on demand. But, if the video is truly compelling, you know it's going to be played again and again on CNN (and Fox and MSNBC and...).

I go to CNN (and any other news site) for information. Before I buy a video snippet, I would need to know what's in it. But once I know what's in it, I no longer have reason to buy it. Once I have the information, I don't really need to see it.
posted by dchase at 4:48 PM on March 29, 2002

CNN has video streaming? Damn, I need to get out from under my rock.
posted by jmd82 at 5:02 PM on March 29, 2002

Why would anyone pay for CNN video when they can turn on the TV and see it for free?

Easy: Lots of people have no cable TV access in their offices. And there's still a sizable number of people that don't have cable at home.
posted by aaron at 5:17 PM on March 29, 2002

if I pay for their videos does that mean they don't SUCK anymore?
posted by greyscale at 6:41 PM on March 29, 2002

I think the point is that they loose a lot of money providing it free, so even if no one subscribes they will be better off.

This is just the start. All the talk is of convergence, interaction, instant reporting and so forth. Video will play a large part somewhere in the future. I get the impression that this is just the first step of many, and that a year or 2 from now CNN will begin to offer far more compelling online video coverage. Look at it this way - a story breaks, at present CNN is limited to the coverage that it can give on air, whilst the web could provide allow it to offer more extensive interviews, expert discussion, further background etc. etc.

On top of that, there are numerous stories that get dropped every hour, that may be of interest to some. Online video will allow them to air these, perhaps as part of a customised subscription package designed around user interests.

This appears to be a sensible move to me, although I would say that if they actually want anyone to subscribe they had better start offering something more than they've got a present.
posted by RobertLoch at 6:48 PM on March 29, 2002

I'm bummed, I must say. I'm never home in time for the news, and I like to be able to see what I want, when I feel like it. But, I won't be paying to use RealOne. Screw that.
posted by animoller at 8:43 PM on March 29, 2002

Some of their "premium" video content is still free via Quicktime TV.

Since I don't have access to any Western television, streaming video from CNN was something that I liked having access to. But because all my computers are Mac and Real's software has never seemed work on this OS - I lose.
posted by cmacleod at 9:24 PM on March 29, 2002

I think this thread is another example of people assuming a syllogism something like "all consumers are in my demographic; I don't like this; thus all consumers will not like this". But of course not all consumers are in your demographic.

Like the previous catcalls for the high-quality PDF version of the WSJ (can't find the thread), this is probably aimed at the people who need it rather than merely want it. That is, people in 24-hour-news-cycle jobs, like Congressional staffers, PR flacks, corporate lawyers, and others who have an actual business-defined need (and thus underwriting) for purchasing this. Yes, that's a vanishingly small market compared to the one to whom they were giving it away for free, but then marginal costs of something like this are low. And in that demographic a lot of people will pay to have it available and yet frequently go months without using it.

posted by dhartung at 10:54 PM on March 29, 2002

Id pay for these reasons .. I dont own a TV commercials drive me nuts .. I can get exactly the news I want when I want it .. its on my desktop where I spend most of my time anyway .. it includes more then CNN and certain to grow with time.
posted by stbalbach at 12:39 PM on March 30, 2002

Quicktime Broadcaster will make it very easy for anyone to set up live tv streams for themselves. Then the "people who need this" won't have to rely on CNN.

1. Plug TV into Mac.
2. Double click QT Broadcaster icon.
3. Connect to mac from anywhere.

Apple has made it pretty much that easy, from what i saw of the QT Broadcaster demo at the QT Live conference.
posted by benh57 at 2:47 PM on March 30, 2002

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