Is TV Everywhere the answer to the threat posed by over-the-top video services (OTT) to video service providers (VSPs)? This was one of the themes of the TV Everywhere panel at the ongoing Independent Show, taking place in Baltimore, MD through July 28th.
The concept of TV Everywhere says consumers should have the ability to access the content they pay for with their monthly video subscription, regardless of location, or the device they choose to consume it on (TV, PC, iPad, Smartphone, etc). One possible TV Everywhere advantage — if a VSP can effectively deliver this experience, consumers will have less desire to go over-the-top.
In this context, Mike Kazmier, CTO of Avail-TVN and one of the panelists, commented that Avail looks at TV Everywhere as ‘under-the-bottom,’ providing video service providers an answer to OTT. His argument is that OTT disaggregates the VSP from the video transaction, as consumers access video content online from a variety of sources, but independent of their underlying VSP. With TV Everywhere, VSPs can deliver the experience themselves, keeping consumers engaged, Kazmier argues.
Other panelists included Michael Quigley, VP of business development for Turner Broadcasting, and Jim Brandt, Director of TV/Video for Synacor. It was a very pro TV Everywhere angle, but unfortunately as most TV Everywhere panels go these days, short on actual answers. We are still very much in the theory phase regarding TV Everywhere, although progress is being made. Brandt pointed to the most recent Olympics cycle (Summer and Winter) as a great test case and early success story for TV Everywhere, as Olympic events content was pushed to multiple platforms by NBC Universal and its partners in significant scale.
Issues including monetization, ease of use, discovery of content, authorization and authentication, and bandwidth implications were all discussed as challenges that need to be resolved in a uniform way. Quigley pointed out that whatever the TV Everywhere outcome, it must be a universal solution for the entire industry. We can’t have multiple TV Everywhere scenarios for different VSPs, confusing both end customers and the industry at large, he argued.
It’s a reality check for the burgeoning TV Everywhere proposition. One that all the panelists agreed will be resolved in years, not months or weeks.