Is TV Everywhere, the concept being pushed by the traditional pay TV industry as an answer to free over-the-top video, doomed before it really gets started? Or is it just evolving into a concept driven largely by Apple’s influence?

One argument made on a TV Everywhere panel that I attended at the recent Independent Show, made by Michael Quigley, VP of business development for Turner Broadcasting, said that TV Everywhere needs to be one consistent solution for the entire industry. Anything else and you risk confusing customers and providers alike, dooming the concept to failure. But isn’t that exactly what is happening?

I bring up Apple, because most of the relevant “TV Everywhere like” applications are being written to their platform. Cablevision is actively pursuing an Apple iPad strategy. AT&T just announced a U-verse iPhone app for television viewing on the iPhone. Comcast already has an iPad app for controlling your television experience. Is the growing influence of the iOS platform in general wrecking TV Everywhere? Or will accessing my television content on Apple devices BECOME TV Everywhere?

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Of course, development of TV Everywhere type of applications is occurring beyond Apple. Verizon and Motorola are rumored to be developing a tablet device based on Android that will allow viewing of television content. But one could argue, all of this Android development is in response to the success that Apple is having, both with the iPhone and iPad, and maybe soon, the iTV. Google will have their say with TV as well, and Google TV’s plans involve more than just the physical television – they extend to mobile devices. You can’t forget Echostar’s Sling platform either – an entirely different direction than other TV Everywhere concepts.

I say all this to say, there is so much development happening around the TV Everywhere concept, that from my vantage point at least, doesn’t seem to be very well coordinated or leading to that so called universal solution. Apple’s influence is undeniable – both with their own products and their competitor’s response to them. For the time being, isn’t Apple driving the TV Everywhere ship? Maybe we will soon call it iTV Everywhere.

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5 thoughts on “Is Apple Hijacking TV Everywhere?

  1. So, Bernie, what does this portend to all those LECs out there who are pursuing OTT or some such application to give them a differentiated video play? Are we just wasting our time and effort? Should we just wait until the big guys sort it out and hope to ride on their coat tails? Every STB provider and consolidator we look at has something missing from their play, but if we wait too long, we lose any advantage we might have as the true local providers.

  2. Great question Mike – one that many are struggling with I'm sure. You make a great point – there is no 'silver bullet' solution and if you wait around for one, the market will pass you by. I do think there is some value in watching the big guys, as you call them. They bring scale, and scale is important. But they have their own agenda and look out for themselves, so you can't rely on them exclusively.

    Like there is no silver bullet solution, there is no silver bullet answer to your question. You just have to stay educated to the issues, listen to and understand your customer's needs, pick partners that you believe have the right mix of technology and focus, and implement tactics & strategies that follow your strategic plan. No problem right? 🙂

  3. Mike, thru my interactions with (Tier 2/3) Telcos they seem to be having the same questions about the "TV Everywhere" model and content licensing restrictions that you current see with big content providers like ESPN. However, they way they seem to be embracing OTT is in aggregating their own local content (whether produced themselves or by the community like local high school game) and deliver it to their subscribers on multiple screens (web, mobile, TV as additional content to broadcast programming). This allows them to establish competitive differentiators in their area, improve the customer experience, and do it at a much lower investment.

  4. Seems to me you won't miss the bus if you give customers a product that lets them view all their TV on the go, including live TV. (And no one is really talking about delivering live TV from the headend side of the equation.) A Slingbox does this today. I can watch my home TV on my iPhone, schedule the DVR to record this week's Charger's game, watch Avatar on VOD and watch tonight's baseball game live. And Sling says they're working on an app for the iPad. Seems to me the simple solution would be for cable and telcos to sell their viewers a Slingbox device rather than re-invent each spoke of the wheel.

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