Charter's Rutledge: TVE password sharing is no joke

Programming networks are not doing a good enough job with securing authentication on multiscreen apps and are "devaluing their programming" as a result, said Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) Chairman and President Tom Rutledge, speaking to investors during his MSO's third-quarter conference call yesterday.

"A lot of the TV Everywhere product and other product available online is not secured well," Rutledge said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. "You have people joking about sharing passwords on authentication on Emmy award shows. That's a real issue."

Rutledge was referring to comedian Andy Samberg, who made a joke about password-sharing in his opening monologue while hosting the Emmys last month. 

But he seemed dead-serious in condemning programming networks for not taking time to button up security issues on their TV Everywhere and OTT apps. 

"I've spoken to a lot of the programming providers. In fact, at a core level, it's -- they haven't been in that [streaming] business before, and they haven't really thought through what they're doing," Rutledge said. "And so, now they're sending their signal out themselves. And they don't seem to have thought through what the implications of that are. And they've created a problem where they devalued their own product by their inability to secure it."

Charter has defended security on its own TVE apps, noting that they're not used outside the home and are, as a result, much easier to manage.

Also speaking to investors Thursday, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus dismissed concerns about password-sharing on the streaming video service the company is beta-testing in New York.

"At this point, we don't see that as a real concern," Marcus said, also according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "And we do have the ability to, via DRM, ensure that a single password is not used concurrently more than X number of times to ensure that we control abuse of the passwords."

For more:
- read this Seeking Alpha transcript
- read this Wall Street Journal story

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