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.

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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.

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7 thoughts on “TV Everywhere – Is it Under the Bottom?

  1. I think Mike's term "under the bottom" is a bit misleading as most services described above will actually be delivered Over the Top (OTT) to devices like PCs, Tablets, Mobile Phones, etc. The only true "under the bottom" services will be the experience on the TV that the Service Provider applies a QoS to ensure a quality experience for their subscribers.

    However, I believe the "punch line" that Mike is making is that Service Providers need to embrace delivery of video to multiple devices, select a technology that allows them to package this together, and sell to their subscribers to generate revenue to compete with OTT Consumer devices that are trying to go directly to their subscribers. This is the true opportunity for Service Providers to compete and win in the OTT/TV Everywhere ecosystem.

    1. Hi Ryan, unfortunately the article did not capture the full essence of the "Under the Bottom" – which is that a service provider needs to embrace and leverage the use of infrastructure existing in their video delivery network. As an example, if we extend and leverage the use of their existing Video on Demand infrastructure and enable this platform to deliver to the various devices, the service provider not only meets the needs of the consumer to utilize these devices in various locations, but also does so in a model that does not add significant cost to the delivery. If OTT is leveraged, think about the economics: the service provider is disinter-mediated from the value chain (subscription or advertising) and is left with the cost of internet bandwidth for unicast video. Not to mention, the main quality impacts to OTT video are upstream from the service provider's headend, so distributing from that location also provides a better quality of experience to the consumer.

      "Under the Bottom" is a WIN-WIN-WIN, giving the consumer what they want, the content provider what they want (when advertising is dynamic and linked to a standard like SCTE-130) and the service provider not only reduces their cost but increases their value and revenue opportunities with the consumer.

      1. Hey Mike – c'mon – where's the love? 🙂

        Blog posts can't 'always capture the full essence' of stuff. But, hey we do our best. Thanks for reading and contributing.

        1. Hi Bernie,

          No disrespect was meant, and I am very glad to see your blog around this, its an exciting time in the industry and I am excited you're still in the thick of it helping all of us navigate through the confusion!

  2. Personally, I don't see TVE working, at least as it currently discussed. It's trying to put a bunch of rules and conditions around the consumption of content, that I think ultimately consumers will reject in this Internet age.

    If it were being done in a vaccum, it might work. But with the likes of Google and maybe Apple in play, I don't see how it can win.

    1. Interesting perspective Rob. But do they have to 'win?' Don't they just have to retain enough subs from defecting to all OTT and cutting their subscription video package. My point is, I don't see this as a winner take all proposition. OTT is here to stay and there will be a segment of consumers who will choose OTT over paying a monthly subscription (or maybe choose to pay a much smaller monthly subscription). But traditional VSPs may be able to retain enough subs with TV Everywhere to keep the current subscription model viable over the long term. We'll have to wait and see.

  3. Bernie, I totally agree that this isn't a winner-take-all situation. It is another example of a supplier (in this case, a supplier of programming to consumers) finding a ready distribution channel (broadband Internet access) and harnessing it in order to remain an option for some would-be cable-cutters, and maybe even to attract some people that aren't on their service at all. I think DISH made a really smart move in being one of Google TV's launch partners, for example, for these reasons. And I bet our friends at Avail TVN feel the same way about it – in their case, making their offering appeal to operators that may never do a facilities-based IPTV solution.

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