Members of the National Cable Television Cooperative now have the option to use a TV Everywhere offering initially developed by Ohio-based NCTC member company Massillon Cable TV for its own use.
“Our platform is very uncomplicated,” said Massillon President Bob Gessner in an interview. “It’s not rocket science. It is computer science but that’s OK because we employ computer scientists.”
Depending on the specific agreement that each member cable company has with individual content providers, the new offering – dubbed Watch TV Everywhere—is designed to enable the cable company to make content available on smartphones, tablets or computers using a browser interface.
Gessner likened the role of Watch TV Everywhere to that of a bouncer at a nightclub. “We didn’t build the nightclub, we don’t book the acts and we don’t serve the drinks,” he said. “Our job is to stand outside and say ‘Tickets!’”
To support the offering, Massillon builds a database with information from cable operators about customers. “It’s not personally identifiable,” explained Gessner, adding that the information is encrypted, secure and password-protected.
When cable customers want to use Watch TV Everywhere they come to the www.watchtveverywhere.com website, select their cable operator and create an account by setting up their user name and password.
“From there on they can log in through their cable company,” said Gessner, adding that users are presented with a dynamic list of content they can watch.
Depending on their cable company’s deals with content providers, users can watch linear channels such as CNN or Fox, libraries such as those from TBS or TNT, or premium channels such as HBO and Cinemax. Participating cable companies pay NCTC for the capability, with the NCTC passing along a portion of the revenues to Massillon.
Cable companies are not allowed to charge for Watch TV Everywhere. Accordingly, Gessner said neither Massillon nor the NCTC is making much money on the offering. Participation, rather than monetization, should be the focus of TV Everywhere initiatives, said Gessner.
Gessner added that the cooperation of protocol providers, including Adobe and Akamai, was critical to Massillon’s ability to create Watch TV Everywhere.