It's Never Too Late to Go Digital

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Here's something you don't see every day: A traditional media giant is thriving because it dares to try some new-age content distribution techniques. Refreshing, isn't it?

I'm talking about New York-area cable guy Cablevision Systems (NYS: CVC) . Shares soared nearly 7% on Wednesday as the company unveiled a streaming content agreement with Turner Broadcasting, a part of the Time Warner (NYS: TWX) media empire.

Under this agreement, paying Cablevision iO subscribers can whip out their favorite Apple (NAS: AAPL) gadgets such as iPads, iPhones, and iPod touch systems to enjoy a plethora of Turner shows, anytime and anywhere. Don't own an iPhone? No worries -- you also get access to Turner's channel-branded websites with video players, from CNN.com and CartoonNetwork.com to TNT.tv and TBS.com. All you need is a browser and a decent broadband connection.

You might recognize Warner as the HBO parent who keeps rejecting streaming proposals by Netflix (NAS: NFLX) in a very public manner. I'm not surprised to see the company striking digital deals with cable operators instead -- after all, Time Warner Cable (NYS: TWC) is a child in the same corporate family.

Cablevision is actually late to the party. Turner's TV Everywhere was originally launched in partnership with Comcast. From the satellite duopoly to Verizon (NYS: VZ) and AT&T (NYS: T) , the broadcast TV industry is pretty well represented. But better late than never, right?

The truly surprising part of all this is that you don't have to connect that iPad to your sanctioned home network. You can stream Conan O'Brien or The Closer over your favorite coffee shop's Wi-Fi connection or even via 3G/4G mobile hookups while commuting from Jersey to Manhattan.

Convenience is still king, and these guys are getting it right. If the cable industry wants to survive the onslaught of digital media mavens like Netflix and Hulu, this is a textbook example of how to stay relevant.

Is the digital media revolution passing you by? Stay on top of the latest news and the biggest moves with the help of our handy Watchlist feature:

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund  owns shares of Netflix but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Netflix, and AT&T. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple, as well as buying puts in Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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