TWC's Marcus 'not losing any sleep' over password sharing

While the CEO of the MSO trying to acquire his company has been increasingly vocal about the issue of password sharing for authenticated video services, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus says he's "not losing any sleep" over the issue.

While acknowledging the "difference of opinion" with Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) President and CEO Tom Rutledge and conceding that a certain amount of password sharing is occurring, Marcus said the issue "isn't going to keep us from providing our customers next-generation video."

Marcus made his remarks Wednesday at the UBS Media and Technology Conference. A day earlier, at the same event, Rutledge shocked -- shocked! -- investor attendees by revealing that a content company had traced back 30,000 concurrent streams to a single user name and password. 

"By definition, no one knows how bad it is," Rutledge said when asked to quantify the problem beyond anecdotes.

For his part, Marcus said "there are ways to manage" the password issue, noting that TWC limited its users to five concurrent streams based on one username and password. 

"We can also insist that devices 'come home' every once in a while," he added. This means that devices that use a specific password must, on a pre-determined timeline, occasionally use the subscriber's modem. 

The issue of improper sharing of authentication credentials is important to both cable companies, with each testing broadband-only services, for which passwords provide the bulk of the security. 

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